ShareThis Page

Latrobe driver pleads guilty in head-on crash that killed Monroeville brewery executive

Rich Cholodofsky
| Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, 4:18 p.m.
Lucas Leitza leaves the Derry Twp. office of Magisterial District Judge Mark Bilik on Feb. 2, 2016, after a preliminary hearing on charges of vehicular homicide. Leitza is accused of killing a brewing executive in crash along Route 981 in Derry Township in 2014.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Lucas Leitza leaves the Derry Twp. office of Magisterial District Judge Mark Bilik on Feb. 2, 2016, after a preliminary hearing on charges of vehicular homicide. Leitza is accused of killing a brewing executive in crash along Route 981 in Derry Township in 2014.

A Latrobe man pleaded guilty Tuesday to causing a fatal car crash more than three years ago in Derry Township that killed a brewery executive.

During a hearing before Westmore­land County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Feliciani, the lawyer for Lucas Leitza, 23, said there was no explanation for why he drove his pickup into oncoming traffic in the early morning hours of Sept. 19, 2014.

“He doesn't have any recollection of it. It was 5 a.m., and he was going to work,” attorney Mike Ferguson said. “He suffered catastrophic injuries himself. This was a tragedy all the way around. Why he crossed the road, we just don't know.”

Leitza was ordered to serve five years' probation, including 18 months of house arrest. Feliciani said Leitza can seek to have his probation term shortened after three years.

Police said Leitza was speeding as he drove a 1999 Chevrolet C2500 pickup on Route 981 in Derry, crossed the center line and struck head-on a Subaru Legacy driven by 62-year-old Frederick Drummond, who died of blunt-force injuries. Drummond was driving 31 mph in the 55 mph zone, police said.

Drummond, of Monroeville, worked as an operations manager at City Brewing Co. in Latrobe.

“I apologize for what happened. I didn't mean for any of this to happen, and I am very sorry it happened,” Leitza said.

Prosecutors dismissed three related summary traffic offenses against Leitza.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.