Mother of trooper ‘disturbed’ by Ickes
The mother of a Pennsylvania state trooper testified Wednesday that she was “very disturbed” two years ago when a man her son had arrested called her home and asked for personal information, such as her son’s address and his telephone number.
Agnes Theresa Laskey said the man described himself as “Don at the airport,” and she said he began to quiz her about the name of her son’s wife.
“That’s when I decided not to give him information,” she said. She told the man, eventually identified as Don Ralph Ickes, then 76, of Fishertown, to call the Pennsylvanian State Police barracks in Hollidaysburg.
The trooper, Thomas Laskey, also testified Wednesday that after he arrested Ickes following a routine traffic stop in Greenfield Township, calls were received at the barracks asking that the Ickes car, which was confiscated as evidence, be returned.
Ickes even sent him a $30,000 bill for the Ford Escort, and attempted to file aggravated assault charges against him.
Shirley Ickes, the suspect’s wife, testified for the defense that she called the barracks in an effort to have the car returned.
She said she loved the car, that it was good on gas, and, she said, “I just wanted my car back.”
The testimony came during the second day of a jury trial in Blair County Judge Daniel J. Milliron’s courtroom.
Don Ickes faces charges of resisting arrest and harassment over his arrest, which occurred on July 18, 2011.
Laskey was on patrol along Interstate 99 in Greenfield Township when he clocked Don Ickes driving through a construction zone traveling 70 mph, or 20 mph over the speed limit.
Laskey, with his lights on and siren blaring, followed Ickes as he exited I-99, turned north on Route 220 and then went to Mill Road and into the driveway of a private residence.
The trooper said he asked about a dozen times to see Ickes’ driver’s license and registration, but Ickes remained huddled in the family car with the doors locked, and his widows rolled up. He would “flash” a driver’s license by holding it against the driver’s side window, then withdraw it quickly, the trooper said.
Back-up was called as the officer became concerned about his own safety.
Ickes was locked in his car and, as Laskey testified, an inspection of what appeared to be a normal license plate bore the name Basileia Ouranos, “The Kingdom of God,” and at the bottom it stated “Mountains of Faith.”
The car was not registered, did not have a Pennsylvania inspection sticker, and Don Ickes’ Pennsylvania driver’s license was suspended, according to Laskey’s testimony.
After back-up support arrived, Laskey broke the passenger-side window, unlocked the door and forcibly removed Ickes, who, he said, tensed up by placing his arms against his chest.
Ickes screamed and cried as he was removed.
Theresa Laskey said Wednesday that it was on Aug. 15, 2011, nearly a month after the incident, Ickes called her.
State Police Trooper Craig Grassmyer, who investigated Ickes’ alleged harassment of Laskey, said he knew right away who “Don at the airport” was.
Having served in Bedford County for several years, Grassmyer said Ickes has an ultralight airport on his property.
Defense attorney Jason Imler pointed out in his cross examination of Mrs. Laskey that the telephone call from Ickes lasted only two minutes and that Ickes was not rude and did not use vulgarity or profanity.
Yet Mrs. Laskey said Ickes kept repeating his questions, which made the call seem like 10 to 12 minutes long, and the call, she said, “made me very disturbed.”
Her husband was a state police trooper for 31 years, and she said people used to call or come to her home.
“When you receive a phone call like that, you become very harassed,” she said. The defense did not focus on Ickes’ religion but called witnesses who described him as frightened by the police that night.
Shirley Ickes said her husband had a stun gun used on him once.
Records in the federal courthouse in Johnstown show that Ickes had, in 2008, gotten into a scuffle with a Bedford Borough police officer in the courthouse there, and a stun gun was used on him. She also said that Ickes was badly injured when a tractor rolled over on him in the early 1990s.
Shirley Ickes told the jury there was no need for the confrontation between her husband and state police to have occurred.
She said Laskey should have called her rather than forcibly remove her husband from the family car.
U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson eventually dismissed a lawsuit filed by Ickes against the officer, Bedford and others. Imler is contending Ickes had no intention of resisting arrest that night while the prosecution, led by District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio and Assistant District Attorney Derek Elensky, maintains Ickes considered himself above the law.
Milliron said the case will go to the jury today.