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Luzerne authorities add vehicular homicide to list of charges

Authorities in Luzerne County have added a homicide while DUI charge to a list of allegations against a 25-year-old man accused of hitting his co-worker with a truck. A judge decided that the defendant will stand trial on charges of aggravated assault by vehicle, hit-and-run involving a death and homicide by vehicle. Police claim the man was intoxicated when he ran over his co-worker.

The defendant and three other men were reportedly staying at a motel while doing a job at Wilkes-Barre's Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. One of the men told police that the defendant and the man who is now deceased go into an argument about who would drive the truck. At some point, according to police, the defendant got into the driver's seat and struck his co-worker with the vehicle.

The trial will likely involve testimony from witnesses, who say they saw the altercation unfold in a McDonald's parking lot. After the incident, the defendant allegedly drove back to the motel where the men were staying.

Police contacted the defendant at the motel, and an affidavit claims that he seemed highly intoxicated. However, police say that he denied being drunk or under the influence of drugs. He was taken to a hospital in Plains Township, but he declined to take a blood-alcohol test.

At his preliminary hearing, the criminal complaint was amended to include the homicide charge.

It remains to be seen whether the prosecution can prove criminal intent on the part of the defendant. In many cases, a close look at the facts reveals a different picture than the one painted by police and prosecutors. With that in mind, individuals who have been accused of a serious crime would be wise to begin building a defense sooner rather than later.

Source: Citizens Voice, "Vehicular homicide charges filed in W-B death," Jacob Seibel, Jan. 31, 2014

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