Police expert says driver was speeding in fatal crash 9-year-old student died in accident

September 25, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Westminster motorist who fatally struck a 9-year-old schoolgirl in a 35-mph zone on Coon Club Road in December was traveling at a "minimum speed of 59 mph," a collision reconstruction expert said yesterday.

Tfc. Bradley J. Harrold methodically used algebraic equations and measurements of skid marks at the scene to determine how fast the 1990 Toyota Camry driven by Lisa Ann McLain was traveling when it struck and killed Ashley E. Frazier, a Spring Garden Elementary School fourth-grader.

McLain, 21, of the 200 block of Opal Ave. is charged with manslaughter by auto, homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and other related traffic charges stemming from the Dec. 22 incident.

Harrold, a state police veteran of more than 200 accident reconstructions, testified in Circuit Court that he used laser survey equipment and standard reconstruction formulas, and considered weather, road surface conditions and manufacturer's specifications for the car to determine its minimum speed.

The trooper said his calculations also considered the reaction TTC time a driver needs to begin braking. He said the standard reaction time for a sober driver is 1.6 seconds.

Earlier yesterday, Dr. Barry S. Levine, the state's chief toxicologist, said that results of Breathalyzer tests given the defendant nearly three hours after the collision led to his estimate that McLain's blood-alcohol level was between 0.07 and 0.09 at the time of the 8: 30 a.m. accident.

Under state law, a driver is considered under the influence with a 0.07 percent blood alcohol content.

Levine said his estimate was based on metabolic rates for an average woman.

Under cross-examination, Levine said a social drinker's metabolism would eliminate alcohol from the bloodstream at a slower rate than a chronic drinker's would.

The trial was to begin its third day today and was expected to continue until Friday.

Pub Date: 9/25/96

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