ShareThis Page

Woman waives hearing on charges in accident that killed area resident

| Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The woman who was driving a truck that ran over and killed a North Belle Vernon resident waived her right to a preliminary hearing Monday.

Denise Kuskie, 36, of 215 Water St., Belle Vernon, is charged with homicide by vehicle, recklessly endangering another person, careless driving, and traffic violations for limitations on backing and general requirements for breaking systems in connection with the Oct. 16 incident that killed John Stura, 78.

Stura was on his way into the National City Bank in North Belle Vernon that afternoon to deposit bingo money for the borough's fire department when he was struck by a Ford Bronco driven by Kuskie.

At the time, Kuskie told police she was pulling out of the bank parking lot when she heard a "thud," and panicked, hitting the accelerator pedal instead of the brake."

At the accident scene, Kuskie said she was "blindsided," and that Stura came out of nowhere.

After the truck hit Stura, it continued through the parking lot and came to rest in a landscaped area.

Stura, a lifetime member of the fire department, died a short time later from injuries caused by the incident.

North Belle Vernon police and state police from the Belle Vernon barracks have spent the past several months investigating the incident.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed at Magisterial District Judge Charles Christner's office in West Newton, an inspection showed there were no working rear brakes on the truck, the front brakes needed repaired, there was no brake fluid, and the emergency brake did not work.

According to the affidavit, John Kerekes, of Belle Vernon, told police he was at the automated teller machine at the bank when he saw Kuskie and a passenger pull into the parking lot at the bank. Kerekes stated he heard tires spinning and saw the Bronco still in the parking stall with its rear wheels spinning and smoke coming from the tires. He said the vehicle then began to move back at a high rate of speed and struck Stura.

Kerekes then told police after Kuskie hit Stura with the truck, he fell to the ground and the vehicle continued running him over with the tires still spinning. Kerekes said Kuskie tried to move the truck forward, but it wouldn't move, according to the affidavit. That's when Kuskie got out of the truck and said, "I didn't see him," according to the complaint.

Kuskie was arrested at her home March 12 and arraigned before Christner. After her preliminary hearing, she was released on a non-monetary bond.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me