Teen Driver Could Face Charges in Fatal Crash
Authorities are trying to determine if the 16-year-old driver should be charged after a Chartiers Valley freshman was killed in a single-car crash on June 20.
Investigators are working to determine if charges should be filed against the driver involved in last week’s fatal crash in Collier Township.
A 16-year-old girl was driving with four other juveniles in the car along Scotts Run Road on June 20 when it left the roadway and crashed into a tree.
The crashed killed Chartiers Valley freshman Scott Katonka and injured the other four occupants. Police said all the kids, including the driver, were students in the Chartiers Valley School District.
Allegheny County homicide detectives are investigating, but did not return numerous phone calls seeking information on the crash. Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney’s office, said he could not release any details about the accident.
“If and when any charges would be forthcoming, that would be announced by (Allegheny) County Police,” Manko said in an email to Chartiers Valley Patch.
Still, questions have been raised whether the driver, who has not been identified, was permitted to have as many passengers in the car because of her age.
Under a new state law ratified in December, teen drivers who have had their driver’s license for less than six months are not permitted to transport more than one passenger who is under the age of 18, except for immediate family members. Drivers are not allowed to travel with more than three underage passengers within a year of obtaining their license.
Collier Township police Chief Thomas Devin said he was unsure when the girl obtained her license. He said it will be up to Allegheny County homicide detectives to file charges and, if they do, whether the driver will be charged as a juvenile or adult.
Devin added that his initial observations of the crash indicated the car was being driven recklessly shortly before the crash.
“Speed was probably a factor in the crash,” Devin said.