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Upper Burrell teen charged in passenger's wreck death

Chuck Biedka
| Friday, July 17, 2009

A 19-year-old Upper Burrell man is being charged in the death of his teenage passenger in a crash in May.

Christopher D. Matisko, 19, of Manchester Hill, Upper Burrell, is facing vehicular homicide, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and speeding charges and two other motor vehicle offenses.

Matisko voluntarily went to the office of District Judge Cheryl Yakopec to be charged. Yakopec released Matisko in lieu of $10,000 unsecured bond pending a preliminary hearing.

Police said Matisko was the driver of a small black pickup truck that crashed May 13 at about 9:35 p.m. on Wildlife Lodge Road near Garvers Ferry Road.

Three teens were riding in the bed of the pickup, which is illegal in Pennsylvania. Some of the charges stem from the fact, according to police, that Matisko allowed the teens to ride there.

The wreck happened at the crest of a hill on a curve. The truck flipped over several times and ejected at least four of the six people in the truck.

Police said Matisko was driving 40 to 45 mph in a 35-mph zone.

The crash killed Michael Patrick McGuire Jr., 18, of 118 Mardi Gras Drive, in the Holiday Park section of Plum, and injured Matisko and four other passengers.

McGuire, who was one of three teens riding in the back of the pickup, was within weeks of graduating from high school.

The three were thrown from the truck and an 18-year-old Lower Burrell woman riding in the cab was pinned under the truck's passenger side, police said.

Police said the passengers were Alex Lewis,18, of Rustic Lane, Upper Burrell, and Lower Burrell residents Shawn Quigley, 18, of Indiana Drive; Jason Wing, 18, of Algonquin Trail; and Elese Allen, 18, of Kay Street.

Matisko's preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for the end of the month.

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