Mother of crash victim testifies at suspect’s sentencing hearing: ‘I don’t want to be me’ |
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Renatta Signorini

Shannon Lakenan-Rowland can remember her mother holding her younger brother Joshua Jordan when he was a baby.

On Thursday, Lisa Lakenan carried an urn containing his remains into a Westmoreland County courtroom. She placed it on the wooden ledge of the witness stand.

“I would never wish anybody to be me, to have their child be killed,” Lakenan said. “I don’t want to be me.”

Lakenan and her family watched as Joshua R. Moser, 30, formerly of Irwin, was handcuffed and taken away by sheriff’s deputies to begin serving a state prison sentence of 18 months to five years in connection with Jordan’s death. Moser pleaded guilty in December to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and related offenses.

Moser was the driver of a speeding stolen vehicle that crashed and flipped over on Route 136 in Hempfield on May 26, 2013, police said. Jordan, 25, of Irwin, was a front seat passenger and died from his injuries.

Jordan’s family has been waiting almost six years for the case to be resolved. They described him as an intelligent, protective person. They wore black T-shirts with his picture on the front to court. His two children, one of whom was 6 months old when he died, have an empty space in their lives.

Kenny Ondish, 10, wanted Moser to see “how bad he broke my heart” and asked that he be jailed for as long as possible.

“I miss him so much everyday,” Kenny testified. “I want to be able to call my dad on the phone and tell him how good I’m doing.”

Jordan’s fiancee, Ashley Wood, said she can’t bear to delete his contact information from her phone, and she sees his resemblance in their daughter, now 6.

“She feels the loss as much as anyone,” Wood testified. “She carries a picture of Josh to school with her in her pencil case.”

Moser’s case moved slowly because of pretrial issues and legal challenges. According to court records, his blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash was .139 percent and he had marijuana in his system. A Pennsylvania driver is considered intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or greater.

“I don’t know why Josh (Jordan) was with Josh Moser,” Lakenan said. “I will probably never have the answer of why they were together.”

Moser faced Jordan’s family and apologized. He appeared to cry throughout testimony prior to being sentenced as members of Jordan’s family spoke directly to him from the witness stand.

“I’m deeply sorry to all of you,” he said.

Lakenan doesn’t think she will ever get closure. But she hopes that one day the family will “not be so broken, not be so sad.

“I will live with this until the day I die,” she said. “My boy is gone.”

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