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Legally blind Leechburg man charged in fatal traffic accident

| Thursday, March 7, 2013, 12:26 a.m.
Linda A. Lucchino, 64, died Dec. 11, 2012, from injuries she suffered in a car accident in Leechburg on Oct. 6, 2012. Submitted
Michael Shaley of Leechburg exits District Judge James Andring's office in Leechburg on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Police accused him of vehicular homicide and other charges in the death of Linda A. Lucchino, a 64-year-old woman he allegedly struck while he was driving a borrowed truck in October 2012. Police allege Shaley is legally blind. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Police are accusing a Leechburg man of driving a borrowed truck that hit and killed a woman in the borough in October even though they say he knew he is legally blind.

Michael P. Shaley, 58, of Morgan Drive was charged by Leechburg police Wednesday with the death of Linda A. Lucchino, 64.

Lucchino, a retired Apollo-Ridge School District librarian, was critically injured along the 400 block of Third Street while she was walking to a beauty shop on Oct. 6.

She had surgery, was put on life support, and was in a nursing home when she died Dec. 11.Shaley is charged with vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter, careless driving, and related offenses.

In an affidavit, police allege that Shaley knew he has bad eyesight and is legally blind but still drove his daughter's truck and struck Lucchino.

Police allege Shaley's eyesight is well below the state standard to drive. Police say medical records also show that a physician told him not to drive.

According to police, Shaley reported that he thought he hit something, but wasn't sure. So he got out of the truck and walked back to find a stricken Lucchino in the middle of the road.

He also allegedly told an officer that he didn't know where the woman was before striking her “due to the fact he is legally blind.”

The affidavit says Shaley described for police the limitations of his eyesight, saying, “I can see the badge on your shirt.” The officer was 2 to 3 feet away.When asked by an officer if he could read letters on the side of a Lower Kiski Ambulance about 10 feet away, Shaley allegedly said, “No, I cannot see that far.” The officer said the letters are 6 to 8 inches tall.

Shaley was formally charged Wednesday afternoon by Leechburg District Judge James Andring after walking to the office.

Police say Shaley has no criminal record.

Andring released Shaley in lieu of $100,000 non-monetary bond pending a preliminary hearing April 10.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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