Senavitis case winding down
Thomas P. Senavitis
Thomas P. Senavitis, 46, of Towamensing Township, might have even been more intoxicated when his pickup truck was involved in a collision with a car driven by Senator James Rhoades than the 0.355 percent BAC level measured at St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem.
That's what a forensic pathologist testified Thursday during the second day of Senavitis' trial, being held in the Monroe County Courthouse.
Also during the trial, the extent of the injuries to Senator Rhoades was detailed. Despite having 17 broken ribs, a separated break on the spine, a broken sternum, a broken leg, and severe internal bleeding, he lived for 14 hours.
Senavitis is facing numerous charges, including vehicular homicide, two counts of DUI, recklessly endangering another person, and failure to keep right.
His trial continues today and could possibly be handed to the jury this afternoon for a verdict.
The charges stem from a head-on collision that Senavitis had with the senator on Oct. 17, 2008 on Route 209 in Monroe County.
The prosecution wrapped up its case in the trial Thursday morning. The defense then began calling witnesses through the rest of the day.
This morning, an independent accident reconstruction specialist is expected to speak on behalf of Senavitis.
Prosecutor Colleen Mancuso, an assistant district attorney, had four witnesses on the stand yesterday morning to give testimony before turning the case over to attorney Wieslaw T. Niemocyznski of the public defender's office. On Wednesday she had seven witnesses.
Attorney Niemocyznski called on 13 witnesses but none presented any blockbuster evidence to help the case for Senavitis. They included individuals who reached the scene after the accident had occurred, tow truck operators, two co-workers of Senavitis, a bank employee who had Senavitis on surveillance video shortly before the accident, and a state trooper.
The co-workers of Senavitis testified that he is a dedicated, hard-working employee who seldom takes time off from work.
Here's a summary of yesterday's testimony. The witnesses for the commonwealth were Trooper Jason Beers of the Fernridge barracks of the state police, Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grimm, and forensic pathologists Sarah Lee Funke and Dr. Isadore Mahalikas.
The rest of the witnesses were on behalf of Senavits.
Trooper Jason Beers,
Trooper Beers said he interviewed Senavitis several days after the accident. Senavitis told the trooper he had consumed one beer a few hours before the crash.
Scott Grimm explained the duties of a coroner. He said the cause of death for Senator Rhoades was "multiple blunt force trauma due to a motor vehicle accident."
Sarah Lee Funke,
She performed the autopsy on Senator Rhoades on Sunday, Oct. 19, at about 10:30 a.m. in the Lehigh Valley Hospital.
She detailed the list of injuries that the senator suffered. Regarding internal bleeding, she said two liters of blood were found in the right side of the chest, adding, "There shuld be no blood in the chest."
Dr. Isadore Mahalicas,
Dr. Mahalicas explained how blood alcohol counts are determined. The attorney for Senavitis questioned Dr. Mahalicas about the blood alcohol level of Senavitis. The pathologist responded that had the blood alcohol reading been taken an hour or two earlier, the BAC likely would have read higher.
He testified that the blood alcohol level of Senavitis is equivalent to the consumption of 10 12-ounce standard beers.
50, of Allentown
Gegara was parked in his car in the Beechwood Inn parking lot when the accident happened. He didn't see the crash occur, but went to the scene as soon as he heard it.
He said the Senavitis pick-up was against the passenger-side door of the Cadillac when he reached the scene.
Mulligan was en route to meet Gegara at the Beechwood Inn when he got stuck in traffic from the accident. He drove down the opposite lane of the highway to get to the Beechwood Inn parking lot, then parked his vehicle and walked to the accident scene.
Mulligan said Senator Rhoades was "awake and conscious" in the Cadillac when he arrived on the scene. The witness said he talked to the senator, who responded that he wanted to get out of the car.
He testified that Senavitis was unconscious on the floor of his pick-up truck.
Reinhart said she lives near the accident scene. She said she went to the site of the accident because shortly before this, her son left for a football game. "I was worried," she said. "I thought it was him."
He said he saw red lights so he went to the accident site to see it.
He testified the pickup truck of Senavitis was in its proper lane.
LeBarre drove one of the flatbed trucks which was dispatched to the accident scene.
John S. Gibens,
71, of Gilbert
Gibens parked his car and walked to the accident scene.
Morris drove one of the wreckers to the accident scene.
He was also a tow truck driver.
Hoover is a records concilliatory for the Stroud Township branch of PNC Bank. She presented the bank video showing that Senavitis cashed a check about an hour before for the accident.
Midas Shop owner
Renaldi said Senavitis picked up his paycheck on the afternoon of Oct. 17.
Asked if Senavitis appeared intoxicated at this time, Renaldi responded, "No."
Renaldi said he has known Senavitis for about 15 years.
James Lynn, 30,
employed at Midas
Lynn said he worked "along side of Senavitis" at the Midas shop.
"He showed me a lot," said Lynn.
Trooper Eric Temarantz
Trooper Teramrantz merely testified about the testing done on the road surface.
Regina Rednar, 17
She said she is the daughter of Senavitis and presented photos she took of the Rhoades' car and her father's pick-up truck.