Non-traffic citations have been filed against Douglas J. Dipalma, who police say was the driver of the car that has been sitting on the bottom of Lake Wallenpaupack since the early morning of Jan. 9.


Non-traffic citations have been filed against Douglas J. Dipalma, who police say was the driver of the car that has been sitting on the bottom of Lake Wallenpaupack since the early morning of Jan. 9.
State Police, Blooming Grove reported that on Jan. 16, that Dipalma was charged with Disorderly Conduct and Criminal Mischief. The citations were filed with District Judge Jay Rose.
The 1998 Honda Accord sunk in about 40 feet of water, said Nick Spinelli, Assistant Fire Chief for Tafton Fire & Rescue, who responded that night.  He estimated that the car was about 110 to 130 feet from shore when it broke through the ice.
Dipalma, who is 24, and Steven P. Devita, 28- both from Lake Ariel- escaped through a sun roof when the car began to sink through the ice. Police said that the two men indicated that were joy-riding on the ice Sunday morning, Jan. 9, before dawn. Police were alerted at 4:33 a.m. that one of the men was banging on doors in the Circle Green area of Paupack, seeking help. The other man could not get up the embankment due to being wet, and the slop was snow covered and slick.
State Police and a Tafton firefighter pulled the man up with a rope. Both Dipalma and Devita were taken to Community Medical Center by Tafton Ambulance, for treatment.
Spinelli said he did not know the plans to have the vehicle removed, but it may not be advisable to try it until after the winter ice is gone. Bringing it out with ice on the lake could risk rupturing fuel lines, he suggested.
He is also the administrator of the Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District (LWWMD). Asked about any pollution concerns to the lake, Spinelli commented that the car should not be a major source of pollution. Any gasoline that might leak would tend to evaporate quickly, he said, and the way car engines are built, there should be little chance for oil escaping, he remarked. The LWWMD is concerned with environmental threats to the lake and its tributaries.
How the car landed on the lake bottom won’t be known until a camera is lowered or divers can be sent down, once the lake clears, he stated. He speculated that area dive teams would be called on to assist when a recovery operation is undertaken.
Spinelli is said he was aware of at least two instances when vehicles went on the ice and broke through.  A few years ago, a vehicle was found off Mangan Cove that was removed. It apparently had been submerged for several years. In the 1980’s, a pickup truck went through the ice near the Tanglwood Motor Lodge, and took quite an effort to get it out, he said.
PPL recently issued a reminder that cars and trucks are prohibited from being taken on the ice of Lake Wallenpaupack.