Penn Hills man pleads guilty to crash that killed his 2-year-old niece |

Penn Hills man pleads guilty to crash that killed his 2-year-old niece

Megan Guza
Allegheny County Jail
Taylor Jefferson

A Penn Hills man pleaded guilty Thursday to a slew of charges related to a 2017 Parkway North crash that killed his niece.

Taylor Jefferson, 26, faces a mandatory 3 to 6 years in prison after pleading to homicide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle while DUI, involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of children and driving under the influence.

Police said Jefferson’s blood tested positive for marijuana. A sentencing hearing is set for July 16.

Jefferson was driving his 1997 Toyota Camry on I-279 north shortly after 1 a.m. May 18, 2017, with a relative, Tyrek Jefferson, in the passenger seat and his 2-year-old niece, Saryiah Jefferson, in the backseat, according to the criminal complaint.

The toddler was not in a car seat, nor was she wearing a seat belt, police said.

Police said Jefferson was driving backward in the left lane of the highway when he was rear-ended by another driver. Authorities suspect Jefferson had passed the exit he needed and was trying to back up to it.

The child became wedged between the front and back seats during the impact, police said, and she was pronounced dead a short time later. Investigators said she likely would have survived if she’d been in a car seat like she should have been.

Tyrek Jefferson pleaded guilty in January to reckless endangerment and possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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