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Involuntary manslaughter suspect held for court in Ligonier

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By Jewels Phraner
Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

A Ligonier man will face trial for involuntary manslaughter in the death of his 17-year-old friend, who died in a traffic accident last March.

Jonathan Michael Rainey, 23, allegedly gave alcohol to Jonathan Kristiansen of Cook Township just before an accident on March 31, 2012, on Route 711 near Caven Road.

Kristiansen, a Ligonier Valley High School student, lost control of his Mitsubishi Eclipse and struck a tree around 4:30 a.m., according to police. He was ejected and died at the scene, police said.

Following a preliminary hearing last week, Ligonier District Judge Denise Snyder Thiel ordered that the charges against Rainey be held for Common Pleas Court.

“As of right now, it looks like we are going to trial,” said James DePasquale, Rainey's attorney. “Right now, we are on the first leg of a long journey. Too much has to be done before I can make a determination of how this whole thing is going to turn out.”

Hours after the accident, Ligonier Township police Officer Barbara Howard was at the Kristiansen home when she overheard a telephone call from Rainey, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed by state police at Greensburg.

Rainey allegedly told the victim's father, Larry Kristiansen, that he was sorry about the accident and said that the boy had been at Rainey's apartment until 2:45 a.m. and that he felt bad for allowing the teen drive home, knowing he was intoxicated. Rainey said he wished he had not given the boy anything to drink, police said.

Rainey told Larry Kristiansen that his son had taken the prescription drugs Adderall and Percocet, court records indicate.

State police said toxicology reports indicate that Kristiansen's blood alcohol content was 0.163 percent at the time of the accident. An adult motorist is considered to be intoxicated with a level of 0.08 percent in Pennsylvania.

Rainey will be arraigned on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, corruption of minors and furnishing alcohol to minors in Westmoreland County court in May.

Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or

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