ShareThis Page

Connellsville man charged in 2011 vehicular homicide

Mary Pickels
| Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Almost two years after Deborah Prah of Acme buried her son David Prah Jr., a Connellsville man has been charged with vehicular homicide in the death of the 22-year-old college student.

State police at Uniontown filed the criminal charge on Friday against Johnathan Schroyer, 26, who is accused of three motor vehicle violations: running a red light, careless driving and reckless driving.

Prah died on Nov. 29, 2011, in Highlands Hospital in Connellsville after a three-vehicle accident on Route 119 in Connellsville Township.

State police said a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado pickup driven by Schroyer struck Prah's 1993 Honda Civic when Schroyer ignored a red light. Schroyer's truck then struck a 1998 Ford Ranger pickup driven by Leslie Etling, 77, of Connellsville, police said.

The wreck occurred at noon as Schroyer was traveling south in the right lane of Route 119 and Prah was pulling onto the highway from West Blake Avenue, police said. Etling was stopped in the northbound left turning lane of Route 119.

Etling told police that Prah had a green light, according to court documents.

As Deborah and David Prah waited to see if Fayette County District Attorney Jack Heneks Jr. would direct police to file criminal charges, they filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Schroyer.

Their attorney, David J. Watson of Balzarini & Watson in Pittsburgh, said he has been frustrated in attempts to depose Schroyer about the accident because he has invoked his Fifth Amendment right and has declined to testify in the civil case.

“The potential of criminal charges being filed in the future was the basis for his assertion of his Fifth Amendment right,” Watson wrote in a court motion.

In an earlier response, Union-town attorney William Radcliffe said Schroyer and his personal attorney, Ronald Kristobak, were “adamant” that Schroyer could not answer questions about the accident.

Watson said he wanted to question Schroyer on issues such as where he was coming from and heading to at the time of the accident, if he had ingested any drugs or alcohol in the 24 hours beforehand, or if he experienced any health issues or mechanical problems before the crash.

Most of those answers were obtained from Schroyer's father and state police investigators, Watson said.

Kristobak did not return telephone messages seeking comment.

Watson's motion noted that seven letters had been sent to Heneks requesting that a decision be made on whether criminal charges would be brought against Schroyer. No response was received, according to Watson.

Schroyer's liability insurance is capped at $50,000, the motion said. “My investigation centered on whether any other party might share in this,” Watson said.

“No amount of money will replace my son. I don't want to hurt this boy (Schroyer), either. But there has to be some kind of recourse,” Deborah Prah said earlier this week, before criminal charges were filed.

Staff writer Mark Hofmann contributed to this report. Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.