Trooper: No attempt to brake before violent Youngwood crash
A state police investigator testified Wednesday that a pickup truck slammed into the back of a small car carrying a Scottdale family and shot their car into a concrete barrier at speeds over 66 mph.
Trooper Bradley Poole told jurors there was no evidence that Matthew Murphy used the brakes on his 2000 Dodge pickup before the three-ton vehicle drove over the back of the smaller car.
“The speed of Mr. Murphy’s vehicle directly led to the injuries suffered by the Schuler family,” Poole testified.
The prosecution rested its case against Murphy, 27, of Scottdale. He is charged with 13 offenses, including three felony counts of aggravated assault, in connection with the violent crash on Route 119 in Youngwood on May 8, 2016.
Prosecutors say Murphy was speeding when his truck crashed into the back of a Hyundai Elantra driven by William Schuler. He, his wife Victoria and their two young children, Austin, 2, and Gavin, 1, were headed to church for a Mother’s Day service when they were severely injured in the crash.
Poole testified that his analysis of the scene determined that Murphy’s truck was traveling between 71 to 78 mph one second before the collision. The speed limit on that section of road is 35 mph, Poole said.
Witnesses previously told jurors that Murphy’s truck appeared to pass another motorist and hit the Schuler vehicle just before a traffic signal.
Poole said the Schulers’ car was slowing, traveling about 31 mph, when it was hit. The collision caused the car to spin, hit a concrete barrier in a nearby vacant lot and flip over.
Murphy’s truck continued to speed off, still not braking, for more than 1,100 feet before it hit a stationary car in a shopping plaza parking lot, Poole testified.
Trooper Kimberly Zubovic said she attempted to question Murphy about the crash as he was being treated in an ambulance just before he was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital.
“He appeared to be very disoriented. He thought he was at his grandmother’s house,” Zubovic testified.
Earlier during the trial, Murphy’s defense lawyer suggested his client suffered a seizure just before the crash.
The defense will have the opportunity to present evidence when the trial resumes Thursday before Common Pleas Court Judge Tim Krieger.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .