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Monroeville man gets up to 2 years in prison in motorcyclist's death

| Thursday, June 5, 2014, 3:32 p.m.
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The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office charged Fremont Mathias Jr., 33, of Monroeville with three counts of contraband possession.

Fremont Mathias Jr. had several opportunities to do the right thing after fatally striking a motorcyclist with his Ford F-150 pickup truck, an Allegheny County prosecutor told a judge on Thursday.

Mathias, 33, of Monroeville could have gotten out of the truck and called 911. He could have told a passer-by the truth about what happened, and he could have taken responsibility when police knocked on his door to question him about the death of Lawrence Matvey, 69, on Hochberg Road in Monroe­ville on June 30.

Instead, Assistant District Attorney Chelsea Pratt said, Mathias did not call 911, told the passer-by that he was out walking his dog when the accident occurred and, when he got home, asked his mom to take the rap.

Ultimately, his wife called police to tell them that she was behind the wheel. Mathias' license had been suspended four months earlier.

“He didn't accept responsibility that day, and it wasn't just one irresponsible action,” Pratt said. “It was one after another after another.”

Common Pleas Judge Philip A. Ignelzi sentenced Mathias, who pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle in March, to one to two years in prison and ordered him to pay $3,750 in fines.

“First and foremost, I want to apologize to the Matvey family for their loss,” Mathias told the court. “I know I'm guilty. I'm fully prepared and fully accepting that whatever punishment you give me is going to be fair.”

Several members of Matvey's family, including his brother Richard and son Michael, appeared in court. In a letter to the judge, the family expressed grief.

“Larry was killed so close to home that we are reminded of our loss every day. He died for no apparent reason and no fault of his own.”

Mathias' mother told the court that her grandsons need their father.

“That split-second of unintentional misjudgment also took my son away from his family and friends. Yes, he is alive in a physical sense, but the horror of that day has taken away his soul,” she said.

A letter from Mathias' mother-in-law, read aloud by another family member, attempted to deflect some of the blame.

“Motorcycles are dangerous vehicles, offering practically no protection in the event of a collision. At least some of the culpability should be taken up on the person who chose to drive a vehicle that can withstand absolutely no impact from a collision,” she wrote.

After sentencing Mathias, Ignelzi sentenced his wife, Heather Mathias, 32, to one year of probation for pleading guilty to hindering her husband's apprehension.

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