HERMITAGE – No charges will be filed against either driver in a February accident that took the lives of two Hickory High School students, Mercer County District Attorney Peter C. Acker said Wednesday.
“I concluded that although I believe that both drivers likely violated provisions of the vehicle code and thus were negligent per se,” Acker said. “That their conduct did not rise to the level of gross negligence or recklessness necessary to support a charge of vehicular homicide.”
Four teenagers were in a vehicle driven by Leah E. Martin, 17, of Hermitage, shortly after 6:30 p.m. Feb. 10 headed east on I-80 when the vehicle was hit just before the Mercer exit by a tractor-trailer truck driven by Jarmono L. Hogg, 37, of Fairview Park, Ohio.
Mercer County Coroner John A. Libonati declared Alexis Myers, 16, and Danielle Nelson, 15, dead at the scene. The other two teenagers were taken to a Pittsburgh hospital with serious injuries.
Acker said the accident was thoroughly investigated by Pennsylvania State Police from the Mercer barracks, including by a trooper who was on Interstate 80 eastbound near the accident scene.
A specialist from the PSP Butler barracks reconstructed the scene, downloaded the “black boxes” of the two vehicles and interpreted the data, he said.
Acker said he and his first assistant district attorney met with both troopers on several occasions, discussed the relevant facts thoroughly, reviewed the available information and questioned the troopers extensively.
“I have 40 years of being involved in motor vehicle accidents, have seen way too many of these tragedies and am very familiar with these types of accidents,” the DA said.
At the time of the crash, Libonati said the accident was definitely due to dangerous road conditions.
A snow squall took drivers by surprise and severely reduced visibility, a 911 supervisor said the night of the accident.
Emergency responders from more than a dozen agencies responded to numerous back-to-back calls of accidents and disabled vehicles that night.
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