No Charges In Fatal North Strabane Trailer Crash
Woman Died, Child Survives With Injuries
POSTED: 5:21 pm EDT May 6, 2009
UPDATED: 5:37 pm EDT May 6, 2009
Related Story: Survivor Describes Crash, Faces Emotional, Physical Pain"After carefully reviewing the case with the North Strabane Police Department and the (state police) accident reconstruction team, the office of the district attorney does not believe that the facts support criminal culpability required for negligent homicide," said a statement from District Attorney Steven Toprani. "Specifically, it was determined that there was no evidence indicating gross negligence on the part of the truck and trailer operator, a necessary prerequisite element for criminal charges."A police report states that the pickup driver, Ryan Bier, 18, told North Strabane investigators that "he felt the trailer pulling hard on the truck and heard a loud pop."
The report also said Bier told police that the wind moved the trailer from side to side, then, "A large gust of wind came across Route 19 and picked the trailer off of the roadway and tossed it into the oncoming traffic."The driver's twin brother and passenger, Justin, also told police of a "yank" on the truck and a "loud pop" and said that "a large gust of wind pulled the trailer off of the roadway and (it) crashed into the car," according to the police report.Ryan Bier told investigators that before the accident, he personally made sure the trailer was secure and that he attached the trailer onto the truck's ball hitch, closed the clamp and put a pin through to lock the clamp.Ryan Bier also said he crossed the safety chains twice, attaching them to the truck bumper. He said his brother then jumped up and down on the trailer to check the connection and that the trailer was secure.