- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A jury will soon have to decide the fate of a southwestern Pennsylvania man charged in the death of a 13-year-old girl struck along with another teenager as they crossed the road to board a school bus.

The Erie Times-News (https://bit.ly/OwlhzS ) reports that closing arguments were scheduled Wednesday after an Erie County judge rejected a defense request to acquit 21-year-old Tyler Festa and said the trial should continue.

Festa, who did not testify before the defense rested its case later Wednesday, is charged with homicide by vehicle as well as involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangering in the December 2011 death of Ashley Clark in Summit Township.

Prosecutors argue that Festa should have stopped once he saw the flashing amber lights on the slowing school bus. They alleged that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Hamot orderly was worried about being late to work.

Defense attorney Peter Sala said Festa was driving well below the speed limit, and the children were crossing illegally. He argued unsuccessfully that prosecutors had failed to present enough evidence to prove that Festa acted with a criminal level of recklessness, a requirement of the most serious charges against him.


Information from: Erie Times-News, https://www.goerie.com

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