An off-campus fight sent a Bloomsburg University student to the hospital in critical condition and led to the arrests of two Kutztown University football players, and team suspensions for two others.
According to a blog “BLOG FOR JACKIE Updates on Jackie Lithgow’s marathon to recovery,” http://prayforjackie.com/, Bloomsburg student Jackie Lithgow, 19, was in critical condition as the result of head injuries sustained during a Feb. 23 fight at an off-campus apartment near Bloomsburg Unviersity. The blog has been updating on his condition, including brain swelling, an induced coma and surgery.
The Bloomsburg Police Department is continuing an investigation into the fight which occurred at an off-campus apartment in Bloomsburg on Feb. 23, at about 1:07 a.m., according to a police release from Bloomsburg Police Patrolman David F. Bowman.
“Additional witnesses and suspects are still being interviewed,” writes Bowman.
Kutztown University football players were arrested for their alleged involvement in the fight that led to Lithgow’s injuries.
KU freshman, a leisure and sport studies major, Angel Cruz 20, from Robesonia, was taken into custody at KU on Feb. 27, and he was returned to Bloomsburg and arraigned at on-call Magistrate Knecht in Berwick.
KU sophomore, a leisure and sports studies major, Justin Wieder, 20, Quakertown, turned himself into police at the Bloomsburg Police Department at about 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and was taken to on-call Magistrate Knecht in Berwick.
Both are currently incarcerated at the Columbia County Prison.
After Cruz was arrested, Kutztown University issued the following statement.
“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the injured students and their families and friends. Our hope is that they will experience a full and speedy recovery,” said Matt Santos, KU Director of University Relations. “Regarding the Kutztown student involved, we have fully cooperated with the authorities in Bloomsburg with their investigation. This is clearly behavior that we will not tolerate, and is in no way representative of our student body. The alleged perpetrator who is a current student-athlete has been suspended from participation on the KU football team pending the outcome of the case.”
“KU officials will continue to assist Bloomsburg officials in whatever manner possible going forward, said Santos.
Santos later issued another statement upon learning of further developments that indicated several other KU students were allegedly involved.
“Upon learning that charging documents in the case state that three other Kutztown University football players were involved in the incident, the university suspended Justin Weider, Eric Condron and Jake Wygant from the football team for violation of athletic department policy. Their status as students at the university is unchanged and will be reviewed pending the outcome of the case. Again, we join the Bloomsburg community in extending our thoughts and prayers to Jackie Lithgow, his family and friends in his recovery,” writes Santos.
According to Bowman, additional arrests are possible upon completion of the investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is requested to call Officer Melanie Readler at 570-784-4155 ext. 163.