Wayne County man pleads guilty for causing 2 head-on crashes killing 2 young men, injuring a third victim

Posted 5/12/22

Wayne County District Attorney A.G. Howell announced that Thomas M. Frisch, Jr., plead guilty to two counts of Homicide by Vehicle, two counts of DUI, and one count of aggravated assault by vehicle from incidents that occurred on April 8, 2020, and May 22, 2020.  On April 8, 2020, Frisch killed 25-year-old Robert Anderson and 24-year-old Zachary Brooks, both of Waymart.  

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Wayne County man pleads guilty for causing 2 head-on crashes killing 2 young men, injuring a third victim

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WAYNE, PA — Wayne County District Attorney A.G. Howell announced that Thomas M. Frisch, Jr., plead guilty to two counts of Homicide by Vehicle, two counts of DUI, and one count of aggravated assault by vehicle from incidents that occurred on April 8, 2020, and May 22, 2020.  On April 8, 2020, Frisch killed 25-year-old Robert Anderson and 24-year-old Zachary Brooks, both of Waymart.  

On May 5, approximately 5:55 p.m., PSP responded to a two-vehicle head on collision crash on Route 6, Roosevelt Highway, Canaan Township, Wayne County.   Prior to the crash being called in to police, PSP received calls of an erratic driver on Route 6.  

The trooper asked the Frisch how the crash occurred.  Frisch related he was driving his vehicle returning from a doctor's appointment in Dunmore, PA.  Frisch further related he must have been reaching for his phone when he crashed into the other vehicle but was not sure.  While speaking to the  Frisch, troopers observed him to be very calm and acting lethargic.  Troopers observed his eyes to be glassy and his pupils to be very constricted.  Troopers asked Frisch if he was taking any prescription medications or illicit drug use to which he related he had just taken methadone around 4:30 p.m.  Troopers then asked Frisch to submit to a battery of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) to which he agreed and failed displaying multiple signs of impairment

Frisch was subsequently taken into custody and transported to Wayne Memorial Hospital for a blood draw.  Frisch was read his implied Consent and O'Connell Warnings where he agreed to submit to a Chemical Test for blood and signed the DL-26 Form.

After many attempts by the Phlebotomist, blood was collected from the Mr. Frisch’s right foot.  Retrieving blood from the Defendant’s veins was extremely  difficult.  A medical nurse  was necessary to accompany  the Phlebotomist during  the  final successful  attempt from the Defendant’s right  foot.

On July 6, 2020, the lab results of the blood drawn from Defendant showed the presence of:

  • 26 ng/mL Fentanyl
  • 10 ng/mL Norfentanyl
  • 26 ng/mL Ketamine 
  • 22 ng/mL Norketamine
  • 234 ng/nL Trazodone
  • 44 ng/mL THC 
  • 267 ng/ml Methadone
  • 33 ng/mL EDDP (metabolite of Methadone)

In the second case stemming from April 8, 2020 at 11:39 p.m., PSP Honesdale received a report of a two-vehicle head on collusion that occurred in the area of 94 Roosevelt Highway (State Route 6), Canaan Twp, Wayne County, PA. 

Just after midnight on April 9, 2020, PSP arrived on scene and observed a blue Chevy Silverado in its final resting position in the eastbound travel lane.  PSP troopers observed the operator of Silverado climbing out of the passenger side window.  The operator was identified as the Defendant, Thomas Michael FRISCH Jr.  

PSP also observed a 2016 Nissan Sentra driven by Robert Anderson, age 25, and his passenger, Zachary Brooks, age 24, both of Waymart PA.  Robert and Zachary were going home after work from Cardinal Glass located in Jessup PA after completing the 2nd shift.  

Fire and EMS Personnel related they were trying to get Frisch in the ambulance to get evaluated for any injuries he might have sustained in the crash, and that Mr. Frisch kept going in and out of the truck for unknown reasons.  

The Troopers observed  hypodermic needles on the ground beside the truck. The syringes were taken into custody, logged into evidence, later swabbed for DNA and were subsequently sent for testing.  The testing detected no controlled substances on the syringes.  

However, the testing did detect blood on the inside of a needle.  A known reference sample was obtained from the Defendant.  A subsequent comparison of the DNA profile obtained from the Defendant matched the DNA profile obtained from the inside of the needle.  

A search warrant was obtained and executed on the Silverado.  Four wax packets were retrieved from the vehicle.  The wax packets were later sent for testing, but the tests indicated there were no controlled substances detected in the packets.  

The Trooper interviewed Defendant in the rear of the ambulance.  During the interview, Defendant had trouble recognizing where he was and confused about the direction he was traveling prior to the crash.  Defendant believed he was travelling East away from Lackawanna County on Route 6 toward Waymart, Wayne County. However, Defendant also related he was at a residence in Cherry Ridge and was headed back to his residence in Honesdale. Defendant related he was visiting a friend. The friend passed away on oApril 19, 2020 prior to being interviewed by PSP.

When asked about the needles, Defendant related they belonged to his diabetic girlfriend and they must have come from the garbage that was located in his vehicle.   However, in a later interview with his girlfriend, she told troopers that she is not a diabetic and the needles did not belong to her.  

When Defendant was initially asked about any drug or alcohol use prior to the crash, Defendant said "no."  When Defendant was signing the medical refusal form, PSP observed him to have hand tremors.  It was at that time PSP asked Defendant if he had any illegal drugs on him.  Defendant related he did not.  PSP then asked for permission to pat him down.  It was at that time Defendant was found to be in possession of a black vape pen that was loaded with a liquid THC cartridge.   The vape pen was later sent for testing, which confirmed the vape pen contained THC, a Schedule I controlled substance. 

Based off of these observations at the scene, the trooper conducted a second interview with Defendant in front of the patrol vehicle.  When asked again about recent drug or alcohol use prior to the crash, Defendant related he recently used benzodiazepine and marijuana.  Defendant related he uses his vape pen throughout the day.  Defendant further related he goes to a methadone clinic in Scranton, and goes at approximately 9:00 a.m. daily to get methadone.  Defendant informed me he had his last dose of methadone on April 8, 2020 at approximately 9:30 a.m. and related the methadone is long lasting.  Law enforcement later confirmed from records from the methadone clinic that Defendant did receive methadone on the morning of April 8, 2020.  When asked to submit to a chemical test of blood Defendant said, "Ok, I guarantee there is going to be THC and things in my blood if I got a blood test right now." 

PSP then asked again where he was coming from and what direction he was traveling.  Defendant said, "that's the thing I'm confused in what direction I was going."  Defendant related he was coming from his friend’s residence but was only in the driveway because he was having a beer, specifically a Yuengling.  When PSP informed Defendant that a blood draw is being requested, the Defendant said "right, I mean it's gonna to light me up and screw me on the DUI I have open probably".  

An eyewitness was interviewed at the scene.  She related she was leaving work traveling West from Honesdale towards Lackawanna County on State Route 6 when she observed a vehicle behind her.  She related the vehicle that was following her was all over the road and it was making her nervous, so she sped up to get away from the erratic driver.

 She continued to look in her rear-view mirror and the vehicle continued to drive all over the roadway.   She observed another vehicle pass her traveling in the opposite direction.  She said moments later she observed in her rear-view mirror what she believed was a crash.  She turned around and headed towards what she believed to be the crash.  She arrived at the crash scene and observed both vehicles had crashed head on.  

It was later confirmed the vehicle behind the eyewitness was the truck that Defendant was operating.  

PSP took Defendant to WMH for a blood draw, however, after many attempts to obtain blood from the Defendant, the efforts were unsuccessful.  

On April 9, 2020, PSP troopers confirmed that Robert and Zachary worked the second shift on April 8, 2020, clocking out at 11:15 p.m.  

    On April 9, 2020, the troopers interviewed a co-worker of Robert and Zachary.  He related they left work at about the same time and he travelled behind them until the he exited State Route 6 at the Carbondale exit and Robert and Zachary continued to travel east towards Waymart. 

On April 10, 2020, Defendant went to CMC Geisinger due to injuries he sustained in the crash.  Urine screens from the early hours of April 10, 2020 (approximately 30 hours after the accident on April 8, 2020) prior to Defendant’s surgery, medical records showed a positive result for methadone, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and THC.

Prior to going to the hospital, in the morning of April 9, 2020, Defendant posted the following post on Facebook:

"This piece of shit hit me head on at 11 o'clock at night last night killing himself I'm was Going up the mountain at about 40 and he was easily going 70/80.  He 100 percent was at fault, and I can now barely walk, but I walked it off like a fucking soldier. Pansy ass tried to end my life and fucked around and got the horns. Thank you for those who look over me and protect me daily to keep me alive.  And RIP to the best truck I ever owned . I wish that scumbag had to live and feel the pain that I'm feeling right now, on top Of what was probably coming for him if my doors weren't waffled in so bad they wouldn't open but his most likely drunk bitch ass just ain't built for it. Fuckin pussies. Oh and they PSP had the audacity to fry and get blood from me for a DUI....... Ha, nice try suckas, good thing my veins dont co operate with police either." 

He then commented a second time writing, "Shows how much PA cares about money, They couldn't charge the dead guy with a dui so they wanted to get my fucking blood instead...... you know, since he was in my lane completely and 100 percent at fault said two female witnesses" 

In a third post, "They still took me in for blood. Too bad my veins are chemo rubber and no one can get a needle in then. Fuckin scumbag pigs." 

A report dated May 22, 2020, PSP Collision Analysis and Reconstructionist determined and confirmed the direction the vehicles were travelling on April 8, 2020.  The report sets out that this crime occurred as the Chevrolet truck, driven by the Defendant, was travelling west along SR 6 in the westbound lane.  As the Chevrolet traveled west, it crossed the double yellow line and traveled completely into the left eastbound lane of travel.  At the same time, the Nissan was traveling east in the left eastbound lane of travel.  The impact occurred in the left eastbound lane. The right front of the Chevrolet impacted with the right front of the Nissan.  The Force from initial impact caused the Chevrolet to spin in a clockwise direction approximately 180 degrees before it came to rest, facing east, in the eastbound travel lane.  After impact, the Nissan was redirected to the north and traveled across the westbound travel lane and into a set of guide rails, where it came to rest facing north.

The Honorable President Judge Janine Edwards accepted the guilty pleas and scheduled sentencing for June 9.  Regarding these two cases, Mr. Frisch faces a total maximum penalty of  33  years in prison and/or a $70,000 fine.

District Attorney A.G. Howell commends the Pennsylvania State Police, Wayne County Detectives, and EMS personnel for their diligent and thoughtful care and investigation of these tragic matters.   Also, DA Howell expresses his gratitude for the victims’ families and friends for their perseverance, understanding, strength and courage. 

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