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No apology from Greensburg driver in DUI death

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Monday, March 10, 2014, 11:24 p.m.
 

Nearly a year after a car driven by an underaged drinker skidded off a secluded road in Cook, the family of the 15-year-old girl killed in the crash said they still haven't gotten an apology.

“He stood up there (in court) and had no remorse, and that's hard to take. He couldn't even say, ‘I'm sorry,' ” said Joyce Piper, the mother of Sarah David, the Greater Latrobe High School sophomore killed in the April 10 crash in Linn Run State Park.

The driver of the car, 21-year-old Ryan Pape of Greensburg, pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of vehicular homicide while driving drunk, drunken driving and other offenses for causing the crash.

Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway sentenced Pape to a mandatory sentence of three to six years in prison. Pape, who had no prior criminal record, refused Hathaway's request to address David's family during the hearing.

Pape's defense lawyer, Corey Riddell, said outside the courtroom that his client was remorseful for his actions.

“He wishes he could take it back. It was a bad decision that led to a horrible, horrible result,” Riddell said.

Pape also pleaded guilty to two counts of simple assault in connection with injuries suffered by his two other teenage passengers.

According to court records, Pape was drunk at the time of the crash. His blood alcohol content was 0.129 percent, or six times the limit at which an underaged driver is considered to be intoxicated. Drivers younger than 21 are considered to be drunk with a blood alcohol content above 0.02 percent. The limit for adult drivers is 0.08 percent.

Police said Pape lost control of his vehicle as it descended Laurel Mountain on a winding, rural roadway. The vehicle struck two trees and a utility pole, went airborne, overturned and hit four more trees before it came to rest on its roof.

David rode in the back seat and did not wear a seat belt, police said. She died from blunt-force injuries to her head, chest and abdomen.

John David said Monday that their daughter did not know Pape well and that she was friends with another passenger in the vehicle.

“This is something that I could never imagine,” John David testified. “I can't even imagine losing a daughter that way.”

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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