Police photos of fatal Route 31 crash resurface
By Rich Cholodofsky
Published: Friday, April 15, 2011
Westmoreland County prosecutors will again be permitted to use crime-scene photographs taken of a fatal head-on crash more than three years ago in East Huntingdon.
Last month, all evidence and reports that relied on those photographs were barred from evidence in the upcoming vehicular homicide trial of Lisa M. Brooks, 40, of Hempfield.
Brooks is charged with being drunk when on Jan. 8, 2008, her sport utility vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and hit a car being driven by 30-year-old John David Reho Jr. of Smithton. Reho died from injuries sustained in the crash.
Police responded to the crash scene on Route 31 and took photographs of the road and the vehicles involved. Those images were subsequently lost.
Now, they have been found.
"They found them misfiled in the (state police) barracks, and we presented them to defense counsel," said Assistant District Attorney Wayne Gongaware.
As a result, Westmoreland County Judge Debra A. Pezze vacated her order and will permit the prosecution to use all of its evidence at Brooks' trial.
Defense attorney Tim McCormick could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Brooks was charged 18 months after the crash. Police said that her blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash was 0.23 percent, which is nearly three times the 0.08 percent threshold at which a motorist in Pennsylvania is considered to be intoxicated.
If convicted of the most serious charge against her, Brooks will face a mandatory sentence of three to six years in prison.
The trial is expected to be scheduled for later this year.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Hempfield couple charged in thefts
- No apology from Greensburg driver in DUI death
- Westmoreland County Controller Balzer, IRS at odds
- Mt. Pleasant Area School District looks to hire assistant superintendent
- Ligonier man charged with harassing estranged wife
- Donegal American Legion Post 941 helps nonprofits
- Man charged with pointing gun at woman in Rostraver
- Mt. Pleasant Rotary makes donations to community organizations
- Glenn Miller Orchestra, Chris Smither among headliners for Greensburg’s SummerSounds series
- Greensburg City Council fights zoning board ruling
- Penn-Trafford board promotes Inglese