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Fired Pennsylvania officer found guilty of motorcycle fatality

Many Erie County motorcyclists have, or soon will, park and store their bikes for the long and unpredictable Pennsylvania winter season. The choice is made over the discomfort of riding in the unpredictable cold, rain and snow with often unnavigable road conditions. Motorcyclists decide the risk isn't worth it.

Hazards challenge drivers year-round, including some that are preventable. Car and

motorcycle accidents

traced to traffic violations, distracted driving or drug and alcohol use frequently result in catastrophic injuries. Riders' vulnerability to harm is obvious. There's nothing between motorcyclists and other traffic except defensive driving skills and the gear they wear.

Pennsylvania drivers may consumer alcohol before driving, provided drinking doesn't lead to intoxication. The state and national blood alcohol content limit is 0.08. Anything above that limit, even by a small margin, indicates a rider or driver is unfit to be on the road.

A Pittsburgh defendant was a member of the city's police force when he decided to operate a motorcycle with a BAC level of 0.108. The off-duty officer was carrying a 28-year-old female passenger when he struck an oncoming Ford Expedition, while riding through the South Side.

The 28-year-old Fawn woman suffered fatal blunt force trauma injuries.

The defendant was charged initially with DUI homicide. An Allegheny County judge separated the DUI and homicide charges. Vehicular manslaughter was added. The officer, who lost his job after the crash, was found guilty on all counts in a bench trial.

During proceedings, prosecutors said the intoxicated motorcyclist was speeding, more than 15 mph above the posted limit, before the accident. The defense argued alcohol use was not a major contributor to the fatality. The officer's attorney said the defendant lost control when the victim failed to shift her weight with the operator in a turn.

The convicted former officer will wear an ankle monitor until sentencing in January.

Source:, "

Former Pittsburgh officer guilty of DUI in crash that killed passenger

" Adama Brandolph, Oct. 08, 2013

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