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Judge won't budge on charges over Pennsylvania officer's death

A New Castle woman will go to court with more than one dozen serious charges against her including homicide. A Pennsylvania judge at the 26-year-old woman's preliminary hearing lowered the defendant's bail but refused to reduce the charges against her.

The defendant is accused of killing a Shenango Township officer in a

car accident

during a police pursuit. The off-duty officer was a passenger in a police cruiser driven by a colleague when the men heard about and decided to join the chase.

The surviving officer said the two hoped to cut off the suspect's escape by placing spike strips on the road. Instead, the cruiser became an obstacle for the fleeing driver. The suspect's car smashed into the police cruiser's side killing the part-time officer and injuring the driver.

The chase began when a New Castle officer tried to pull over someone "driving erratically." The officer called for backup when the suspect fled. When the woman's attorney argued that his client was not a flight risk, the judge pointed to the suspect's willingness to flee from a traffic stop.

Bail for the woman charged with homicide, manslaughter and a host of other offenses was lowered from $250,000 to $100,000. A condition was attached that the defendant would be under house arrest if she met bail.

The accused driver's lawyer asked the court to narrow the list of charges to involuntary manslaughter because the fatal accident was not intentional. The judge refused. The woman was jailed until the trial or until she could post bond.

The woman driver did not intend to cause harm but her behavior - fleeing from police and racing through the streets - showed a disregard for others' safety. The defendant may not have meant to hurt anyone, but she did. For those actions, she may be penalized heavily in criminal court and responsible for significant damages in a wrongful death claim.

Source:, "Kylee Barletto Hearing: Judge lowers bond for woman accused in Shenango officer's death" Nancy Lowry, Jun. 07, 2013

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