Truck driver

Berks authorities charge York County truck driver with Robesonia hit and run

Berks County authorities on Wednesday announced the filing of hit-and-run and related charges against a York County man who was driving a 26,000 pound truck that struck a Robesonia man from 67 years old and his dog before dawn in August. 26 in Robesonia.

Todd Frey, 55, of Manchester didn’t stop to check on Robert L. Hatt or try to rescue after hitting Hatt at 4:39 a.m. on Penn Avenue and Robeson Street, and kept driving east on Penn Avenue, which is Route 422., South Heidelberg Township Police Chief Leon Grim said at a press conference at Robesonia Borough Hall.

South Heidelberg Police are engaged to provide policing services to Robesonia.

Police arrived in response to a 9-1-1 call from a witness and found Hatt and his dog, Scout, both dead in the middle of the eastbound lanes of Penn Avenue at the intersection.

Police learned that the victim appeared to have tripped in the crosswalk with her dog on a leash and was starting to stand up when struck by the front of the truck, which continued eastbound.

As unsettling as this scenario was, officers also learned that two other vehicles crashed into Hatt and his dog, not one after the other, moments after a witness reported the pedestrian crash. This witness is a 19-year-old man who was driving behind the box truck, police said.

The Berks County Coroner’s Office said it was not clear when Hatt died.

According to the authorities:

The witness stopped on the right side of the road, facing the intersection, and called 9-1-1. While waiting to speak to a dispatcher, he heard another vehicle run over the victim.

The driver didn’t stop either.

After the second hit and run, another witness – a 56-year-old man from Robesonia – pulled his vehicle to the right side of the road and saw a tanker truck run over Hatt.

A 44-year-old man from Richland who was driving behind the tanker told police he saw the victim under the rear tires of the platform. He slowed down his vehicle and saw that the platform was not stopping. He tried to overtake the truck but could not locate it.

Police have spent hours questioning witnesses and examining security camera footage from businesses and homes in the area. They were able to identify the company logo on the box truck and contacted the company, which in turn provided Frey with a phone number.

They contacted him and Frey returned to the area that afternoon, about 10 hours after the accident, with the truck.

Frey told investigators he saw debris on the road and tried to avoid it, but denied hitting anyone.

The police impounded the truck and obtained a search warrant.

Hair and blood samples were taken from the truck, which showed no mechanical defects.

Investigators obtained an additional search warrant last week for Frey’s cell phone.

Frey’s speed at impact, as recorded by an in-cabin GPS, was 40 mph. The speed limit on Penn Avenue in Robesonia is 35 mph.

Frey has been charged with two counts of fatal accidents or bodily injury, as well as single counts of reckless driving resulting in unintentional death, failure to provide information and to provide assistance. help, and not to drive at a safe speed.

The driver of the car, Lorraine F. Gechter, 71, from Womelsdorf, was also identified on the same day.

Family members and colleagues called police after seeing local media reports of the fatal pedestrian crash. They overheard Gechter say she ran over a deer in Robesonia on her way to work.

Asked about seven hours after the crash, Gechter said she saw two cars pull up on the right side of the road, veer left to avoid them and run over something. When she looked at herself in her mirror to see what she had been able to run over, she thought it was a deer or a dog.

An examination of the exterior of his car revealed blood in the front passenger’s wheel arch and under the front and rear passenger doors.

Because Gechter didn’t stop, she was accused of failing to provide information and help.

The tanker which was the third vehicle on strike was the last to be identified.

Investigators provided more than 50 tips through Crime Alert Berks before identifying the company involved. Police had distributed footage from security cameras that showed the truck moments after the crash.

This tanker had just been filled with a load of spring water from a facility in Newmanstown, just west of Womelsdorf, before passing over the victim as it headed west.

It was one of five trucks that the Allentown area company owned in the area at the time, making it difficult to determine the driver involved.

After a review of the spring water site’s digital logs, supported by handwritten logs and CCTV from the same site, police were able to specify the truck involved in the crash.

The driver, a 63-year-old man from Alburtis, was questioned and cooperated with investigators and will not be charged as it is believed he did not realize he had run over someone.

“We believe, after questioning the driver of the tanker, as well as video obtained from the intersection, that the driver of the tanker did not see the victim and did not realize he had taken contact with him, ”Grim said. “This was because a car in front of him slowed down as it approached the scene, obstructing his line of sight and not contacting the victim with the truck’s steering axle.”

However, it was confirmed that the rear axles of the tanker had run over the victim.

“It should be noted that the tanker was carrying an estimated load of 96,000 pounds, which would make it difficult for the driver in the cabin to realize that he came into contact with the victim,” Grim said.

Police did not disclose the name of the driver of the tanker and the water company that employed the driver.

“While this incident is an unimaginable tragedy for the Hatt family and the Robesonia community, it is made worse by the unfathomable fact that so many drivers did not stop at the scene to rescue,” said Grim. “However, I would like to point out that many people did the right thing and immediately stopped and tried to help in any way they could.

“And the South Heidelberg Township Police especially want to thank JC Hoffa, the owner of Superior Gunsmithing in Robesonia, who provided the invaluable video surveillance that helped identify the box truck so quickly. We would also like to thank Robesonia Pioneer Hose Fire Chief Joshua Babura and Firefighter John Christian who provided additional video to help identify the van truck.


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