Bar brawl victim, 60, can seek restitution

HOLLIDAYSBURG – The East Freedom man injured three years ago by former Altoona police officer Duane “D.J.” Eichenlaub during a barroom brawl will have the opportunity to request restitution, now that sentencing has taken place.

Eichenlaub, 30, who served as a police officer for five years, was sentenced by Blair County Judge Timothy M. Sullivan on Tuesday to 11 to 23 months in Blair County Prison for the aggravated assault of Earl P. Eshelman, 60.

Eshelman said Wednesday that, although he had a lot he wanted to say, Deputy Attorney General Christopher Jones and his private attorney have asked him to not speak out about what occurred during the sentencing hearing.

He said that he will comment after all of the court proceedings have been completed.

Sullivan issued an order late Wednesday indicating that Eshelman and the prosecutor have 30 days in which to submit a request for restitution.

The issue of restitution was not brought before Sullivan during sentencing, because the figures were unavailable.

Sullivan said that the defense, led by Eichenlaub’s counsel, Timothy Barrouk of Harrisburg, will have 10 days to comment after the restitution figure has been submitted.

The judge said that if both sides agree on the amount, then he will issue an order. If there is disagreement, he will order a restitution hearing.

Eshelman has indicated he has had to pay thousands of dollars for continuing medical care out of his own pocket, taking the money from his retirement funds.

Eshelman was in the men’s restroom at Pellegrine’s Lounge in Altoona during the early morning of Memorial Day 2010 when Eichenlaub and a colleague, Eric Kriner, entered and began beating Herman “Bo” Lardieri, who Eichenlaub believed had improperly touched his wife as he walked through the bar area.

As Eshelman tried to break up the fight, Eichenlaub hit Eshelman several times in the face, injuring his left eye, head, face and nose.

Eshelman testified that he suffers from post-concussion problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, double vision, dizziness and other problems.

He said he is being treated by specialists in Pittsburgh.

Kriner, who also is no longer with the city police department, received probation for a simple assault on Lardieri. He was not charged with the injuries to Eshelman.