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Lehighton man waives hearing in jogger's death

Published June 10. 2014 07:10AM

A Lehighton man has waived his preliminary hearing on charges he struck a jogger with his vehicle on March 12.

The jogger, Angela Pope, 47, of North Whitehall Township, died at the scene.

Donald John Vito, 54, of 357 N. Fifth St., had all charges in the case forwarded to Lehigh County Court.

Vito initially had bail set at $100,000, but it has been reduced with conditions.

Charges included:

Homicide by vehicle, a felony.

Recklessly endangering another person, a misdemeanor.

Involuntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor.

Summary charges of disregard traffic lane, following too closely, driving at an unsafe speed, careless driving, and reckless driving.

The incident happened at about 11:45 a.m. on Route 873 in Washington Township. He was charged by state police at Bethlehem.

A hearing had been scheduled Friday before District Judge Michael J. Faulkner in Allentown. Vito was represented at the magistrate appearance by Attorney Matthew Rapa of Rapa Law Office, Lehighton.

He will be arraigned in Lehigh County Court on July 15. At that time, a trial date will be set.

The affidavit says Vito was traveling south on Route 873 when he crossed over the center double yellow lines and into the northbound lane. The vehicle then crossed the northbound lane's fog line, struck Pope, and hit a utility pole.

Another motorist told police that she was traveling north on Route 873 and passed Pope. The motorist said she saw Vito's vehicle traveling south and saw it cross over the double yellow lines and into the northbound lane. The motorist had to swerve to the right to avoid contact with Vito's vehicle. The motorist told police she saw Vito's vehicle strike the victim from behind as she was jogging.

Two motorists said Vito was driving at a high rate of speed.

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