Pennsylvania House, Big House, Then What?
(“Capitol Crimes,” Forensic Files)
Thomas W. Druce panicked and made a decision so ill-advised that it ultimately meant trading his job as a Pennsylvania legislator for a 42-cent-an-hour gig on the grounds crew of Laurel Highlands State Prison.
Last week’s post examined the roles racism and classism played in the privileged treatment and light sentence Druce received for the hit-and-run accident that left Kenneth Cains alone and dying next to a Harrisburg street on July 27, 1999.
Druce, who for four terms represented the 44th District in Central Bucks County — and enjoyed a $57,367 annual base salary, per diem expenses, and a government-paid car — managed to evade justice at first by hiding the evidence of the accident, then by having lawyers stall his prison check-in date until April 2004. (He had pleaded guilty in 2000.)
So what ever happened to him and others featured on “Capitol Crimes,” the Forensic Files episode about Druce’s crimes? Three epilogues:
• Thomas Druce was released in 2006. “It’s a tragedy all the way around,” Druce’s mentor, former Bucks County Commissioner Andrew Warren was quoted as saying in a Morning Call story by Pervaiz Shallwani. “And now it’s probably best everyone start anew.”
Druce actually had already begun something of a new chapter, even before he reported to jail in 2004, according to his LinkedIn profile. He launched PoliticsPA.com in 2001.
Although he’s no longer associated with the website, PoliticsPA.com still exists, under new ownership, as a “one-stop shop for political junkies in every part of the state” and has attracted ads from the likes of Uber and the University of Pennsylvania.
It’s not clear whether Druce ever owned the site in full or profited from it in any way.
The website wasn’t his first post-crime venture: He also founded a public-policy consulting business, Phoenix Strategy Group, before heading to his minimum-security digs.
Again, whether he derived net gains from the business (and who ran it) during his time behind razor wire is unclear.
A 2000 Philadelphia Inquirer story by Stephanie Doster and Amy Worden, noted that Druce already had “a job lined up with Hershey public-relations firm Hallowell & Branstetter” after his release but that “he could have difficulty getting to work because his driver’s license had been suspended.” Druce’s LinkedIn profile makes no mention of that position.
In another Philadelphia Inquirer story, published the day after Druce’s March 2006 release from prison, Worden described the disgraced politician as having “$15 in his checking account” and “$100,000 in debt.”
His wife, Amy Schreiber-Druce, a former ballet teacher, had already filed for divorce and found a job working for a political caucus, according to the article.
The 2006 Philly Inquirer story also noted that the house in Chalfont, Pennsylvania, that the couple and their three sons had shared still belonged to the family at the time of his release. Hence, it’s unlikely Schreiber-Druce ended up moving into the boarding house room vacated by Kenneth Cains after her husband went to state prison.
According to Thomas Druce’s LinkedIn profile, he worked at Phoenix Stategy Group from 2001 to the present, which would — curiously — encompass his days in Laurel Highland.
His LinkedIn profile also says that, starting in 2013, he worked in business development for Grace Electronics, “a small-business manufacturing and engineering company supporting the defense and aerospace industry partnering with Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the United States Navy to the Phoenix Strategy Group.”
Aside from the information on the social-media networking website, very little record of Druce’s doings after his release can be found on the internet.
• Louis Cains, the brother of hit-and-run victim Kenneth Cains, died in 2013 at the age of 60. An obituary notes that, in addition to Kenneth, two other siblings preceded him in death.
He lived long enough to hear Thomas Druce apologize for failing to stop after hitting Kenneth, and see Druce hit with a $100,000 civil fine for his crimes.
Cains, a longtime employee at a garden and lawn equipment manufacturer, left a wife of 26 years, a daughter, and three surviving siblings.
• Ed Marsico, the District Attorney who prosecuted Druce, still serves in that capacity in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, and is going strong a decade after his appearance on Forensic Files.
Recent headlines include Marsico’s investigation of a synthetic marijuana influx that caused widespread overdosing in the area.
In 2015, his office investigated police officer Lisa Mearkle, who shot a man lying face down on the ground after he fled a traffic stop in Harrisburg. A jury acquitted her on all charges related to David Kassick’s death.
Sadly, Marsico saw his own son, Connor, a 19-year-old football player at Millersville University, plead guilty to simple assault in connection with the robbery and beating of a 22-year-old man. Connor received 24 months of probation in 2015.
Adversity notwithstanding, Ed Marsico is Dauphin County’s longest-serving DA. In celebration, commissioners designated an Edward M. Marsico Jr. Day in 2014.
And he still has a great tan. — RR