The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

Local News

April 19, 2013

Jury clears truck driver in teen’s traffic death

MERCER COUNTY — There is a school of thought that, when someone dies in a traffic accident, someone should be put in jail, said Blair H. Hindman, a defense attorney.

However, there are times when someone dies in an accident as the result of an incident that was truly an accident, he said.

Such was the case the Jeffrey C. Brink, 59, Smicksburg, Pa., who was charged in the traffic death of 17-year-old James Saxion of Hempfield Township on Aug. 29, 2010, said Hindman, of Linesville.

“It was just really an accident,” Hindman said Thursday, the day a jury found Brink not guilty of homicide by vehicle and aggravated assault, and guilty of failing to stop at a stop sign, a crime for which he was fined $25 and costs.

District Attorney Robert G. Kochems confirmed the verdict and said in an email the jury deliberated about four hours over two days, but did not comment further on the outcome.

A woman who answered the telephone at the Saxion home said there would be no comment on the trial.

Brink was driving a tractor-trailer northbound on South Summit Road, West Salem Township, when he drove through the stop sign at Vernon Road and ran into a sport-utility vehicle, which was westbound on Vernon, Greenville-West Salem Township police said.

The truck also hit an eastbound minivan.

There is no stop sign at the intersection for Vernon traffic.

Saxion and his parents and sister were in the SUV and three people were in the minivan. All occupants of the SUV and minivan were injured to varying degrees.

James died about two hours after the crash.

Police took photographs and video after the crash that showed the view for a driver who was the height Brink was when he was driving his truck, Hindman said. The evidence showed “stop ahead” and “stop” signs were “significantly covered” by branches, Hindman said.

Hindman said he feels for the family and all that they have been through emotionally and physically.

“I understand their pain,” he said.

However, prosecutors had to show that Brink exhibited “gross negligence” at the time of the crash, and the evidence did not support that high a standard, Hindman said.

Saxion’s father, David G., has filed a civil suit against Brink, where the standard is the lower “negligence,” Hindman said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story

  • News briefs from July 19, 2014

    Michigan man charged with assaulting girl here

    Sharon man charged with raping woman

    July 19, 2014

  • For sale Realty transfer tax hike headed for ballot

    Sharon voters will be deciding through a referendum whether city council can raise the realty transfer tax. Council gave first reading Thursday to an ordinance that phrases the question that will be printed on the November ballot.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bella recovering Vet: Dog lucky to be alive, should survive

    Although a veterinarian said an underweight dog found Thursday with a gruesome neck wound was lucky to be alive, her prognosis for recovery is good.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Alleged hit-run driver arrested

    Sharon police said Friday afternoon they had arrested a man believed to have driven a vehicle that struck an 11-year-old boy Thursday and left the scene.

    July 19, 2014

  • Boy ‘was being starved’

    A 7-year-old Greenville boy described as looking like a human skeleton had been starved and beaten by his mother for a year, authorities are saying.

    July 19, 2014

  • Corruption case puts ex-youth leader in rehab program

    The former commander of the local Civil Air Patrol squadron has been admitted into a diversionary program to resolve a criminal case, but the conditions of the program all but forbid his involvement with CAP, his attorney said.

    July 18, 2014

  • GACT’s ‘Steel Magnolias’ opens tonight at Thiel

    Beauty parlor gossip, southern drawls and big hair may sound out of place for Mercer County, but it’s very much a real scene in Thiel College’s William Robinson Theater.

    July 18, 2014

  • Police seek hit-and-run driver who struck boy

    A boy riding a Mongoose bike on Second Avenue in Sharon Thursday evening was struck straight on by a truck whose driver never hit the brakes or looked back, witnesses said.

    July 18, 2014