2018-01-13 / Front Page

Homicide by vehicle trial stalled

More than three years after a Cameron County pedestrian was struck and killed by a car on Old West Creek Road, the case against the driver remains hung up in the legal system.

It did move a step closer to resolution just after Christmas when an appellate court cleared one of the hurdles by rejecting an attempt by the defendant, Kaitlyn Wolfel, to have incriminating evidence quashed on a legal technicality. Still, no trial date has been set.

Wolfel, 24, formerly of Emporium, is charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or other drugs, aggravated assault by vehicle, and other counts.

Police allege Wolfel was DUI when the car she was driving struck David M. Croyle Jr. and Patrick Hornung on Dec. 18, 2014. Croyle was killed on impact. Hornung was seriously injured.

Her blood alcohol level was reported at .178 percent, more than twice the legal limit of .08. She remains free on bail.

Wolfel had sought to retroactively apply a U.S. Supreme Court 2016 ruling to have her blood alcohol content test results thrown out. But the Pa. Superior Court on Dec. 29 rejected the argument, setting aside an earlier ruling by Judge William Morgan of Warren County.

Defense attorney Gary Knaresboro argued that a defendant’s blood test results were inadmissible unless a warrant is obtained by police. He is expected to appeal the Superior Court’s decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

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