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Westmoreland

Woman gets probation, house arrest for killing elderly pedestrian outside Delmont Walmart

Rich Cholodofsky
| Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, 4:39 p.m.

A Mississippi woman will serve three years on probation after pleading guilty Monday to her role in the death of an elderly pedestrian this year in the parking lot of a Delmont Walmart.

Wendy Shumaker, 49, told a Westmoreland County judge that she was “deeply sorry” for running over 82-year-old Gail Rohrbacher of Delmont in front of the store on July 27.

“I shattered many lives and I wish I could turn back time. I can’t imagine the pain and loss. Nobody can, especially her family,” Shumaker said. “I never intended for any of this, and I pray for your family.”

Police said Shumaker twice ran over Rohrbacher with her 2014 pickup truck as she attempted to find a parking spot. Police initially said Shumaker was drunk and had prescription drugs in her possession at the time of the crash.

In court Monday, Assistant District Attorney Mike Pacek dismissed drunken driving related charges, saying there was not enough evidence to prove Shumaker was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.

Testimony from a preliminary hearing indicated that Shumaker’s blood-alcohol content was 0.05 percent, below the 0.08 percent legal threshold in Pennsylvania for a motorist to be considered intoxicated. Police said she also had the prescription medication Lyrica in her system at the time of the crash.

Shumaker pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular homicide and several summary traffic-related offenses.

Common Pleas Court Judge Tim Krieger sentenced Shumaker to probation, including one year of house arrest. The probation and house arrest terms could be transferred to allow Shumaker to move back to Philadelphia, Miss.

Shumaker previously served 30 days in jail following her arrest before posting bail.

Rohrbacher’s husband and other family members were in court Monday and said they agreed with the terms of Shumaker’s guilty plea. They declined to make any statements.

Defense attorney Kyle Baxter said Shumaker’s case is a warning, especially this time of year.

“This was an accident where if everyone had been paying attention and (Shumaker) hadn’t been looking for another parking space to open up, that’s what led us to be here,” Baxter said. “You have to slow down and have to look out and be aware of everything.”

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

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