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Elizabeth Township man pleads guilty in 2011 fatal hit-and-run

| Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 12:01 p.m.

An Elizabeth Township man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a fatal hit-and-run crash in McKeesport more than three years ago.

Seth Denne, 24, pleaded guilty to accidents involving death or personal injury, a felony. The district attorney's office withdrew the more serious charge of homicide by vehicle as part of a plea agreement.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman is scheduled to sentence him on July 31. Denne could be sentenced to a maximum of five to 10 years in prison. The minimum sentence is one to two years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Prosecutors said Denne struck and killed Bruce Babyak, 27, of Versailles with his minivan on Eden Park Boulevard about 2:45 a.m. April 1, 2011.

He did not stop after the crash. He turned himself in to police later in the day with the assistance of a lawyer.

Denne's lawyer, Patrick Thomassey, said his client thought he hit a deer and didn't know it was a person until he found Babyak's clothing stuck in the vehicle.

“This truly was an accident,” Thomassey said. “Mr. Denne's only mistake here was not stopping.”

The victim's family could not be reached for comment. The district attorney's office said the family approved the plea deal.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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