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  1. #1
    E-man's Avatar
    E-man is offline No bird but dog and 3 cats
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    Guilty plea in deadly accident

    I believe I posted the origninal article last year about a tree service guy that was involved in a fatal accident last year near me. He incorrectly hooked up the 5,000lb. wood chipper on his truck and it broke loose slamming into a Honda van killing dad and 2 of the 3 kids inside.
    He just pleaded guilty today.


    Wood chipper driver pleads guilty, avoids trial
    Route 8 crash killed father, two children

    Monday, March 19, 2007
    By Chico Harlan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Trial to begin in fatal chipper accident

    The driver of a truck hauling a wood chipper that detached last year and hit a minivan, killing a Cranberry father and two of his 4-year-old triplets, won't face punishment for the most serious charges -- three counts of homicide by vehicle.

    And the family left behind by the April 13 collision on Route 8 in Richland won't have to hear the traumatic details in a courtroom.

    The trial of Bradley Demitras, 35, of Pine, was set to begin this morning in the courtroom of Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus, but instead ended with a negotiated settlement. Mr. Demitras pleaded guilty to reduced charges, including three counts of involuntary manslaughter.

    He faces a maximum of 17 years and 90 days in prison. Sentencing is set May 22.

    "We wanted to spare the family and everybody else included in this case the rigors of a trial," said attorney Patrick Thomassey, representing Mr. Demitras.

    Killed in the crash were Spencer Morrison, 37, and his children, Alaina and Garret. The third triplet, Ethan, had skull, face and leg injuries and spent a month at Children's Hospital before being released.
    A monday morning lunatic, disturbed from time to time. Temporary catatonic madman on occasion..

    Lightning crashes a new mother cries, her placenta falls to the floor. The angel opens her eyes,the confusion sets in before the doctor can even close the door..
    The views and comments of E-man are mine and mine alone and therefore might not reflect the views of others or people in my current department. As such since this is still America I can post what I want without fear of retribution. I think.

    RIP Eric

  2. #2
    Buttercup's Avatar
    Buttercup is offline Thrives in sunshine
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    I remember reading about that when it happened, 17 years just isn't long enough for him.

  3. #3
    Jackalope's Avatar
    Jackalope is offline Yell O
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    Was it an honest mistake, or did he do something that could not happen to someone taking reasonable precautions?

    Everybody screws up occasionally, and if it was an honest mistake, 17 years in prison is only going to destroy another family. It won't do anything to prevent any other mistakes.
    "I'm not a coward,
    I've just never been tested
    I'd like to think that if I was,
    I would pass"
    ~Mighty Mighty Bosstones~

  4. #4
    BEB is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalope View Post
    Was it an honest mistake, or did he do something that could not happen to someone taking reasonable precautions?

    Everybody screws up occasionally, and if it was an honest mistake, 17 years in prison is only going to destroy another family. It won't do anything to prevent any other mistakes.
    I wondered the same. An earlier story contains more detail and certainly doesn't make him out to be a model citizen.

    The drug use - interesting. Perhaps relevant, perhaps not.

    The speeding - contributing factor, but if not for the first mistake this violation wouldn't make the back page of the paper.

    Non use of safety chains - commonly skipped, and I, for one, am glad. If someone can show me how they actually reduce injury I may change my tune on them. (this case aside) I've always been opposed to them, though I do hook them up. Then again, I'm paranoid about checking the hitch so if I live six lifetimes they'll never get used.

    Maybe there's more than this?

    Trial to begin in fatal chipper accident
    Monday, March 12, 2007
    By Chico Harlan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    It all happened behind him. Bradley Demitras saw it from his Ford truck as he was driving along Route 8.

    He saw his wood chipper detach from his vehicle and cross the road's dividing line, into oncoming traffic.

    He saw it collide, almost head on, with a Honda minivan. He grabbed his cell phone and called a friend, James O'Connor, owner of O'Connor Tree Service, for whom Mr. Demitras was working that day.

    "Even now," said Pat Thomassey, Mr. Demitras' defense attorney, "he can't talk about it without crying."

    When emergency workers arrived at the accident scene in Richland in the early evening of April 13, 2006, they sorted through the wreckage. A Cranberry father, Spencer Morrison, 37, and two of his 4-year-old triplets -- Alaina and Garret -- were dead.

    The other triplet, Ethan, sitting in the right rear seat, was helicoptered to Children's Hospital. It was one month later, after being treated for skull, face and leg injuries, when he was released.

    Today jury selection begins in Mr. Demitras' trial, which is likely to begin next Monday. Mr. Demitras, 34, of Pine, is charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, and speeding and other motor vehicle violations. He has since been held under house arrest.

    A police affidavit said Mr. Demitras admitted to not checking if the chipper was properly secured.

    Mr. Demitras also acknowledged to police that, on the night before the crash, he took an OxyContin tablet and drank half a bottle of bourbon. He woke up April 13 hung over. At 11:30 a.m., he stopped at a bar, near one of his work sites, for a beer, police said. By noon, police said, he'd taken two stolen painkiller pills.

    Still, police have not provided evidence that Mr. Demitras was drunk or had drugs in his system while driving around 5 p.m., when the crash occurred. Instead, they have focused on the fact that Mr. Demitras never checked the connection between his Ford truck and his wood chipper. Police have also said that Mr. Demitras disobeyed the 45-mph speed limit. He later told police that he had been driving 50 or 55 mph, but conceded his speed could have been faster.

    Collision reconstruction experts believe that the trailer was moving between 67 and 73 mph from the moment it detached.

    "I just think it's a horrible, horrendous accident -- it really is," Mr. Thomassey said. "But I think the jury will have to draw the line between a horrible accident and criminal conduct. That's what this trial is really about. He's charged basically with failing to check out the connection between the chipper and the vehicle ... It's conduct, mistakes, that people make every day."

    Experts who investigated the crash said in an opinion contained in court documents that "the trailer's pintle latch was not secured to the truck, and that the safety chains were not attached to the truck when the trailer became disengaged."

    Nicole Morrison, the widow of Spencer Morrison and mother of the triplets, did not wish to comment for this story.

    Mr. Thomassey said that he and Assistant District Attorney Stephie Kapourales agreed to proceed quickly with the trial because "we need to get this over with, for everybody's sake."



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