Truck driver charged in fatal Route 28 crash headed to trial
A tractor-trailer driver involved in a fatal crash on Route 28 in O’Hara more than a year ago is headed to trial, but his lawyer hopes the case won’t make it that far.
Arther Wells, 70, of Mississippi, is charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving and following too closely.
Wells’ attorney, Michael Waltman, said while the crash was a tragic accident, he believes the case is not a criminal matter.
“I think it’s important to note that there is no evidence that Mr. Wells was intoxicated or otherwise impaired,” he said. “Speed was not a factor.”
Court documents show all charges were held for higher court after a preliminary hearing in district court Friday.
Wells is charged in the Dec. 6, 2017 crash that killed Zachary Wilkoski, 29, of Carnegie. Police say the tractor-trailer that Wells was driving rear-ended Wilkoski’s Mustang as it was stopped in traffic on Route 28 southbound near the Fox Chapel exit. Wilkoski was leaving work at Bayer Corp. in the nearby RIDC Park.
The initial police report indicated Wells was distracted. He was attempting to merge and didn’t see the traffic was stopped, causing him to crash into Wilkoski’s car, the report said. Wilkoski’s car was completely stopped.
Waltman said calling Wells’ driving “distracted” is a mischaracterization because he was looking at the traffic in the next lane so merge.
Waltman argued for the charges against Wells to be withdrawn during the preliminary hearing, but the request was not granted.
He said he will try again to have the charges dismissed once it moves to the higher court. He doesn’t want the case to proceed to trial.
“I expect to fight this until that result occurs,” Waltman said.
According to court documents, Wells next court appearance will be March 13.
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, email@example.com or via Twitter @emilybalser.