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Summit Hill man charged with vehicular homicide

Published April 27. 2010 05:00PM

A Summit Hill man has been charged with vehicular homicide while driving drunk in the death of a passenger in an accident last year in Whitehall Township.

Wayne Vasiliou, 22, of 10 E Holland St., was arraigned before District Judge Rod Beck of Slatington on Monday. He is free on $100,000 unsecured bail.

Vasiliou was charged with one count each of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving, careless driving, and driving on roadways laned for traffic,

Also, two counts of driving under the influence, three counts of aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, and four counts each of reckless endangerment, and driving vehicle at safe speed.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper Robert Covington of the Pennsylvania State Police:

On Sept. 27, 2009, at around 2:39 a.m., Covington and Officer Russo were on routine patrol on SR22 eastbound when they were dispatched to a call for a crash in the area of the SR22 west to SR145 north ramp, Whitehall Township, according to the affidavit.

Covington said they arrived at the scene at around 2:42 a.m., when Covington observed multiple first responders at the scene, the affidavit says.

Covington said he saw a maroon Ford Taurus in a ditch located off the western shoulder of SR22 west to SR145 north ramp. At that time, he observed three individuals inside, one person in the drivers seat, one in the front passenger seat, and one seated in the rear middle position as multiple EMS personnel in the ditch attempted to extricate them from the vehicle.

Covington said he observed two individuals on the top of the embankment, Patrick McAvoy and Adam Stratchko, who had been passengers in the vehicle, but had freed themselves after the crash and climbed up the embankment.

Covington interviewed McAvoy and Stratchko at the scene, both of whom said they had all been out at multiple bars during the evening and identified the driver of the vehicle as Vasiliou.

Once Vasiliou was freed, Covington interviewed him in the back of the ambulance before his departure for Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest.

Covington said Vasiliou related that he did not know what happened to cause the crash, did not know if he was the driver, and did not know if he had been drinking alcohol.

During the interview, Covington said he noted a strong smell of alcohol on Vasiliou. Covington then asked Stratchko, who was in the same ambulance with Vasiliou, and asked him a second time who the driver was, and he said Vasiliou.

Due to the severity of the injuries, Covington said he was unable to interview the individual seated in the rear middle position, identified as Christopher Pelo.

The front passenger, identified as William Barron, 22, of Nesquehoning, was pronounced dead at the scene. A later autopsy revealed that Barron's death was a result of injuries sustained in the crash.

Vasiliou had a blood alcohol level of 0.14 percent at the time of the crash. Pelo and Stratchko sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the crash.

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