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Man will serve probation in accident that killed Hopwood bicyclist

| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A Fayette County man Wednesday pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence in a 2011 accident that killed a bicyclist.

Gustavo A. Palmar, 53, of 107 Belmont Circle, Uniontown, agreed to terms of a plea bargain calling for him to serve six months' probation.

That sentence is the mandatory minimum for a first-time drunken-driving offense, according to the district attorney's office.

A plea of no contest is not an admission of guilt, but it is treated as one for sentencing purposes.

Parrish Robert George, 19, of Hopwood died on Nov. 2 when his bicycle and Palmar's sport utility vehicle collided at a Uniontown intersection.

George's family members have indicated they were dissatisfied with the tentative plea, which first was raised in March after Palmar waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

In July, friends and family held signs that read, “Justice 4 Parrish,” outside the courthouse before Palmar's planned arraignment. George's sister, Caitlyn George of Uniontown, said she does not think six months' probation represented justice for her brother.

No family members attended Wednesday's proceedings.

District Attorney Jack Heneks has said that charges were limited to the DUI because an accident reconstruction did not show gross negligence or reckless conduct on Palmar's part.

Palmar's blood-alcohol content after the accident was 0.093 percent, over the legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to court testimony.

Police said George was northbound on Beeson Avenue and Palmar was eastbound on Fayette Street when George and the bicycle fell over just before the collision, and the bicycle slid underneath the SUV.

Police said two witnesses indicated Palmar had a green light.

Common Pleas Judge Gerald Solomon told Palmar that he will make the final decision on his sentence on Dec. 13 at 8:30 a.m.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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