Separate trials sought in fatal Murrysville DUI
Just two weeks after Andrew Lysell and his two buddies graduated from Franklin Regional High School two years ago, he was killed on Saltsburg Road in Murrysville.
Lysell's friends are charged with homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence in connection with his death on June 23, 2012.
In court on Thursday, the lawyer for Jacob Vrudney, 20, of Murrysville said his client should not go to trial alongside co-defendant Michael Kralovic, 20, also of Murrysville, because Kralovic is the one responsible for Lysell's death.
“We believe the statements of the co-defendant are incriminating against my client. They are self-serving for Mr. Kralovic,” said defense attorney Anthony DeLuca.
Police said Lysell, 18, of Export was a passenger in a car driven by Kralovic as it rounded a curve at a high rate of speed and flipped onto its roof.
As Lysell crawled out of the car, he was hit by a speeding pickup truck driven by Vrudney, according to court documents.
Police contend both vehicles were speeding, traveling about 80 mph, and investigators said both drivers were drunk. Vrudney had a blood alcohol content of 0.154 percent, and Kralovic's blood alcohol level was 0.135 percent, according to court records. Both men were about seven times the limit at which a motorist under 21 is considered to be drunk in Pennsylvania.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Pacek said that even though Vrudney was the driver who killed Lysell with his truck, both men were responsible for his death.
“But not for (Kralovic's) reckless driving in his intoxicated state, the accident would not have happened,” Pacek said.
During a pretrial hearing Thursday before Westmoreland County Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr., Murrysville paramedic James Gerano testified Kralovic, as he was being treated at the crash site, claimed all three men had been drinking and that there was no time to react when Vrudney's pickup truck rounded the curve.
“They were racing,” Gerano testified.
Kralovic told investigators that prior to the crash, he and Lysell attended a demolition derby in New Alexandria, where they stole a half case of beer before leaving around 1:30 a.m. to attend a graduation party at a residence.
They met up with Vrudney at the party, where they continued to consume alcohol, police said.
In court documents filed this week, Kralovic's attorneys contended there is not enough evidence to support the homicide charges against him.
McCormick said he would rule on the pretrial issues at a later date.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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.
- Drones hover at top of holiday wish lists
- Family collecting donations for Salem man seriously injured in deer stand fall
- Greensburg streetlights to be updated, save city $90K
- Jeannette trudges through blight
- School lunch group hopes to revise rules it calls impractical, too restrictive
- Contractor eyes early finish to work on New Stanton interchange of Interstate 70
- Witnesses recount Franklin Regional stabbing
- $2,000 donated for abused puppies recovering at South Huntingdon shelter
- Western Pa. students bristle at changing menu choices
- Penn Park project moves forward
- 2 Greensburg properties left on demo list