Defense Says Krebs Not Driver In Fatal Car Accident

January 16, 1991|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — Talk of misunderstandings, mistakes and miracles dominated the first day of a Pennsylvania man's trial on automobile manslaughter charges filed in a June accident that killed a Manchester man.

The trial, being heard in Carroll Circuit Court by newly appointed Judge Francis Arnold, is set to resume today at 9:30 a.m.

Scott Allen Krebs, 27, of East Berlin, Pa., is charged in the June 29 accident that killed a co-worker, John Wesley Reaver of Wentz Road.

Krebs also is charged with driving too fast for conditions, using license tags issued to another person, driving with a suspended license, driving an unlicensed and unregistered vehicle, driving whileintoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident.

Reaver died of multiple injuries after being thrown from the car in the accident on Stoney Lane, 2 miles east of Tracey's Mill Road in Manchester. Policebelieve the father of two was a passenger in Krebs' car.

Police say Krebs ran from the scene after the 5 p.m. crash. He was arrested several hours later in Pennsylvania and taken to the state police barracks in Westminster by Pennsylvania State Police.

State police from both states used all-terrain vehicles, a helicopter and a K-9 unit to search for Krebs.

But Krebs and his attorney, Daniel Wolfson ofYork County, Pa., maintain police have the story all wrong.

In his opening argument Monday before the seven-woman, five-man jury, Wolfson said the event that killed the 30-year-old Reaver was a "terriblemistake." But, he said, it was not his client's fault.

Wolfson told the jury that he doubts the state can prove Krebs was driving the car that night, let alone driving too fast or driving while intoxicated.

"No one saw the accident, or Krebs driving," said Wolfson. "There is no real evidence he was even behind the wheel."

Wolfson told the jury he will present a physics professor from York College who will testify that the victim could have been driving, made a sharp turn and been thrown out the passenger-side window.

Deputy State's Attorney Edward Ulsch and Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill say that Krebs was driving his car that night with "wanton disregard for life."

Hill began her opening argument by reading a statement given to police by a farmer who was riding his tractor near the accident site just before the crash.

" 'If they make that turn, it will be a miracle,' " Hill repeated to the jury. "But there were to be no miracles that day."

Hill said she and Ulsch will prove that Krebs is guilty of automobile manslaughter -- an unintentional killing.

The state's attorneys presented four witnesses during the first day of testimony -- Reaver's grandfather, Eugene Simkins; Assistant State Medical Examiner Frank Joseph Peretti; and two of the defendant's co-workers.

Peretti told the jury he believed that from the pattern of injuries on the right side of the victim's face and head, Reaver had been seated on the passenger side of the car before the accident.

Wolfson took issue with that finding, and hammered away at Peretti by saying the medical examiner was not an expert in physics. During cross-examination, he pressed the doctor to say Reaver could have been in the drivers seat before being ejected from the passenger side.

One of Krebs' co-workers, 20-year-old Sean Seymour, testified that Krebs called him the morning after the crash and told him he probably wouldbe visited by police.

The day after the accident, according to police, Seymour told them that he drove Krebs around on June 29, and that Krebs was not driving at the time of the crash.

In court, Seymour testified that Krebs asked him to tell police that he was driving Krebs around on the day of the accident.

"I was trying to help himout," said Seymour. "I knew he'd be in a lot of trouble if they found out he was driving."

The trial did not resume Tuesday, as state workers had the day off in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

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