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Ex-Allegheny County police officer pleads guilty in hit-run death

Timothy Tatters Sr. of White Oak in a Facebook profile picture.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 1:06 a.m.

A retired Allegheny County police officer from White Oak pleaded guilty in Common Pleas Court on Monday to charges in the hit-run death of a McKeesport woman.

Timothy Tatters Sr., 65, entered guilty pleas in the death of Lorraine Wilkes, 56, who was struck along Lysle Boulevard near her home in the early hours of Jan. 16, 2013.

Tatters initially was charged with a third-degree felony count of involvement in an accident involving death or personal injury and a summary count of careless driving.

The felony count was changed to second-degree before Tatters entered his plea in a nonjury proceeding before Judge Joseph K. Williams III.

Williams revoked a $100,000 bond and sent Tatters to Allegheny County Jail pending sentencing scheduled for June 2 at 9 a.m.

Family members said Tatters retired in 1993 after 21 years on the county police force because of heart problems.

According to a county police affidavit, Tatters admitted he spent 11 hours and drank three 16-ounce beers at a bar in the city's Highland Grove neighborhood where his former daughter-in-law was training to be a bartender.

Tatters said he drove her home to Glassport and visited with her and his grandson before heading home.

Tatters told investigators he knew he struck something near the Sunoco along the 600 block of Lysle but thought it was a dog and kept driving.

A short time later, passersby found Wilkes on the sidewalk near a Sunoco station. She died about three hours later from multiple injuries at UPMC Mercy.

After arriving home, the affidavit quoted Tatters, he checked his vehicle for damage and thought he hit a deer instead of a dog — but did not know Wilkes had been struck until he heard a news broadcast later in the day.

Assistant District Attorney Evan A. Lowry prosecuted the case while Tatters was defended by Pleasant Hills attorney D. Scott Lautner.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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