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Rostraver woman sentenced for texting and driving crash that seriously injured motorcyclist

Rich Cholodofsky
| Friday, July 20, 2018, 4:00 p.m.

A Rostraver woman will serve up to nearly two years in jail for texting while driving and causing a crash that seriously injured a motorcyclist and left him without part of his left leg.

Rachel Ann Jaszemski, 35, pleaded guilty in April to causing the crash, then fleeing the scene last Sept. 15 on Route 51 in Rostraver that left 20-year-old Jason Tomich seriously injured. She was sentenced Friday.

Tomich was riding a motorcycle when a vehicle driven by Jaszemski crossed into his lane of traffic as she turned left onto McKenery Drive, according to police.

Tomich of Ruffsdale was thrown from his bike and fell about 70 feet down an embankment as Jaszemski fled the scene without stopping or offering help. He was eventually spotted by a passing motorist and flown to a Pittsburgh hospital.

Tomich had part of his left leg amputated as a result of his injuries.

Police said Jaszemski was texting on her cellphone at the time of the crash.

“It is simply unacceptable to text while driving,” Westmore­land County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Feliciani said.

The judge ordered Jaszem­ski to serve 11.5 to 23 months in jail followed by two years of probation, a sentence that began Friday.

Jaszemski said she initially thought she hit a deer and drove off after the incident, according to court records. She said she went to police after seeing news reports a day later of a hit-and-run crash on Route 51.

The judge said he didn’t believe Jaszemski’s story.

“You left the scene, and there are text messages after that showed there is evidence that maybe you hit something other than a deer,” Feliciani said. “If you were being honest, you would admit you knew you hit a person.”

Jaszemski apologized in court.

“It truly was an accident,” she said.

Tomich, who worked as a lineman with a local power company, said he is slowly recovering from his injuries and hopes to soon resume his job.

“I’m happy with what she got,” Tomich said of Jaszem­ski’s jail sentence. “Don’t text and drive.”

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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