Attorney Argues Fatal Ambulance Crash Negligent, Not Criminal


 
 

Rich Cholodofsky | | Friday, April 4, 2008


GREENSBURG, Pa. -- Criminal charges should be dismissed against an ambulance driver charged with causing a fatal crash that killed a Westmoreland County (Pa.) prison guard because it is not a crime to run through a red light, an attorney argued Wednesday.

Jason R. Fait, 31, of North Huntingdon, was arrested last year after authorities concluded that his actions caused the death of Frank Scalise Jr. of Murrysville in the early-morning hours of Oct. 30, 2006.

Fait ran a red light at the intersection of Route 130 and South Greengate Road in Hempfield, police said. Fait, who was at the wheel of a Penn Township Rescue 6 ambulance, was not responding to a call.

Scalise, 46, of Murrysville was on his way to work at the Westmoreland County Prison when his car was hit by Fait's ambulance. He died a week later of injuries sustained in the crash.

Fait was charged with a felony offense of vehicular homicide and summary traffic citations.

Defense attorney Ken Burkley conceded yesterday that Fait ignored the traffic signal. But that fact alone would not merit the felony charge, Burkley contended.

Fait was neither speeding nor attempting to make it through the intersection before the signal turned from green to red, Burkley said.

He argued that for prosecutors to sustain the vehicular homicide charge, they would have to show that Fait was both reckless and negligent when he drove through the red light.

"It's just a negligent act and not a criminal violation. Negligence alone doesn't make it a crime," Burkley said. "At worst, it shows inattentiveness, and that's not a crime."

Westmoreland County Judge Debra Pezze directed prosecutors to file written legal arguments within 20 days.

Assistant District Attorney Wayne Gongaware said those arguments would reaffirm the prosecution's stance that criminal charges are warranted against Fait.

"It is our opinion that going through a red light and killing someone is a reckless act," Gongaware said.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Legal and Ethical, Vehicle Operations

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Hospital Mourns Helicopter Crash Victims

TriState CareFlight pilot and crew killed in crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Deadly Mudslide In Central Japan Caught On Video

Mudslide in Japan caught on video by a security camera.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Wisconsin Medics Teach Officers to Administer Narcan

Germantown police are now treating heroin overdose patients.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Medics save Pets in House Fire

Medics have their first save of animals.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Moscow Subway MCI

At least 20 dead and 150 injured in subway derailment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On July 2014

Check out the latest products and innovations in JEMS.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Wounded Veteran Resiliency

Marine is one of many in quality of life study.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >