2 men charged in school van crash that killed Serra Catholic student, injured 5 in Dravosburg
Two men accused of racing on a public highway in western Pennsylvania are facing charges in a crash involving a school van that left a teenage girl dead.
The crash also sent three other juveniles and two critically injured adults — including one of the defendants — to hospitals.
Allegheny County police said the Serra Catholic High School van was trying to make a left turn when it was struck by a northbound sedan on Sept. 20 in Dravosburg. The medical examiner's office said 15-year-old Samantha Lee Kalkbrenner died at the scene. Authorities said three of the four students in the van, including Kalkbrenner, were ejected and the van driver also was seriously injured.
William Soliday II, 43, of Irwin, whose car struck the van, is charged with criminal homicide, vehicular homicide, and multiple counts of aggravated assault and reckless endangering, authorities said. Andrew Voigt, 37, of Pittsburgh, whose vehicle entered the intersection moments after the crash, is charged with accidents involving death or injury and reckless endangering, authorities said. Both men, who worked at the same place nearby, are charged with racing on highways.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said authorities believe the two drivers were racing and that the vehicle had been turned “into a deadly weapon.” Investigators said the first car is believed to have been traveling more than 100 mph (160 kph) just before the crash and the second vehicle was about two seconds behind.
Soliday's attorney, Casey White, told reporters his client sustained some head trauma and has no memory of the crash or even leaving home that day. He said the crash was an accident and there was no malicious intent on his client's part, and “words can’t describe the remorse he has, his family has."
“It was a very shocking situation," Voigt's attorney David Shrager told WPXI-TV, adding how many "have passed by terrible accidents and not stopped?”