Truck driver pleads guilty in Route 22 crash in Salem Township
A Georgia truck driver pleaded guilty Friday to charges he caused a multi-vehicle collision nearly four years ago in Salem that left one motorist injured and traffic stalled for more than eight hours on a busy section of Route 22.
Andrew M. Parkes, 32, was sentenced by Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Tim Krieger to serve five years on probation and to repay his victims involved the eight-vehicle pileup a total of $7,000 in restitution.
According to court records, police said Parkes was speeding shortly after 6 a.m. on June 30, 2015, when his tractor-trailer hit a Ford pickup truck from behind. That started a chain reaction with other vehicles on both sides of Route 22, near the Mark Drive intersection.
Police said Parkes was traveling 62 mph just before the crash. The roadway carries a 45 mph speed limit, according to court records.
Parkes told investigators that an SUV pulled out of Mark Drive in front of him and he swerved to avoid it. He was not injured.
Troopers who inspected the rig after the crash found numerous equipment violations, many involving multiple failures in the brake system. Police cited Parkes for failing to properly maintain a driving log and other maintenance records, according to court records.
Parkes withdrew a general guilty plea he entered in January to all 18 charges he initially faced.
Krieger on Friday approved a new, negotiated plea bargain in which Parkes pleaded guilty to a felony offense of aggravated assault by vehicle and a number of other lesser violations.
The judge said Parkes can serve his probation in Georgia.
The intersection where the crash occurred is the same location where another trucker caused another a multi-vehicle crash a year later that resulted in the death of a 67-year-old Albert Tomasino of Jeannette.
Cruz Humberto Guzman Nieves, 29, of Illinois, pleaded guilty in connection with the June 14, 2016, fatal crash. He served a sentence of one year less a day to two years less a day in the county jail for homicide by vehicle and aggravated assault by vehicle.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .