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Man to face DUI-homicide trial for Route 28 wreck

| Friday, March 7, 2014, 4:38 p.m.

Jared Schillinger drank beer in a Station Square bar in Pittsburgh just before he drove his car into the rear of a woman's Hyundai, killing her on Route 28 in Sharpsburg a year ago, a prosecutor alleged at the man's hearing on Friday.

Assistant District Attorney Evan Anthony Lowry II said Schillinger, 29, of Indiana Township had been drinking beer at a second bar and a brewery that day before he got behind the wheel of his car and headed out of Pittsburgh at about 11 p.m. Feb. 16, 2013.

About 15 minutes later, his car smashed into the rear of Rikki Fleming's car, and the 18-year-old woman from Etna was killed along Route 28, about a half-mile north of Exit 5, state police said.

Records show troopers were alerted at 11:16 p.m.

Fleming was pronounced dead at the scene 13 minutes later.

State police said Schillinger had a blood alcohol content of 0.23 percent that night — almost three times the legal limit.

At Friday's hearing, District Judge Beth Mills held nine charges to court including homicide by vehicle while driving drunk, and involuntary manslaughter.

Also held to court were charges of careless and reckless driving, not driving at a safe speed, two counts of drunken driving and causing an accident while drunk.

Lowry asked Mills to increase Schillinger's bond from an unsecured bond he has been on for a year, but defense attorney Christopher Urbano said that would be unfair because Schillinger has exhibited good behavior for the past year.

Mills ordered Schillinger to remain on $75,000 unsecured bond, but added conditions that he drive only to and from work, that he not drink alcohol and stay out of any establishment that sells or serves alcohol.

Witness Susan Wallish testified that she saw a car approach from behind her SUV at a rapid rate of speed. She said she slowed down on Route 279 North near PNC Park and she saw the car take the Route 28 North exit.

Wallish said she clearly saw that car ahead of her on the Route 28 ramp and then saw it pull into traffic.

“He was driving at a very high rate of speed and weaving in and out of traffic,” she testified.

Wallish said she next saw the car at the accident where state police allege it slammed into the rear of Fleming's car.

State police said Fleming's car was pushed over a concrete curb and up a steep embankment before tipping over and rolling and flipping backward.

Fleming was ejected and died.

Two state troopers who responded to the accident that night testified that Schillinger appeared to be under the influence of alcohol when they talked with him and that he failed field sobriety tests given at the scene.

Urbano asked why it took a year for police to file charges against Schillinger, but his question was not answered at the hearing.

“This has been very prejudicial to my client,” he said.

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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