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Charges dismissed in 2014 fatal pedestrian crash

Published December 22. 2017 12:18PM

A judge has dismissed involuntary manslaughter and DUI charges in a 2014 crash that killed a pedestrian crossing Route 209 near the Mahoning Valley Turnpike Interchange.

The Nov. 24, 2014, crash killed 89-year-old Agnes Spzak of Nesquehoning. According to police, Spzak was struck crossing a four-lane section of Route 209 without streetlights in the dark. At the same time, Iannone was attempting to pass a pickup whose driver had slowed when he observed Spzak crossing the road.

Spzak was declared dead at the scene.

On Monday, President Judge Roger N. Nanovic ruled that there was not enough evidence for the driver in the case, 24-year-old Nicole Iannone of Kunkletown, to face involuntary manslaughter charges in Spzak’s death.

He also dismissed two counts of driving under the influence filed against Iannone after ruling that a blood test taken after the crash was not admissible in court.

A careless driving charge was also dismissed.

Iannone’s attorney, Matthew J. Rapa, had filed motions in July requesting that those charges be dismissed.

Upon responding to the crash, a Franklin Township Police officer smelled marijuana inside the Iannone’s car and then observed a bag containing marijuana in Iannone’s purse, which she had left on the seat.

Iannone was then taken to a hospital to have blood drawn. The sample came back positive for marijuana.

At the time of the crash, people suspected of driving under the influence in Pennsylvania were all but required to submit to a blood test.

However the Supreme Court ruled last year that police must obtain a warrant before taking blood from someone suspected of DUI. Rapa successfully argued that Iannone’s blood was illegally obtained.

Iannone admitted to police that she had smoked marijuana earlier in the day, but the judge said there was no evidence that Iannone was driving her vehicle impaired, according to Rapa.

A state trooper conducted a forensic report on the crash and found that there was no evidence that Iannone was speeding or that she left her travel lane.

Before the crash, Spzak had parked her car on the shoulder of Route 209, gotten out of the vehicle, and attempted to cross the divided highway.

The trooper further concluded that Iannone’s vehicle had the right of way at the time of the crash, because there were no crosswalks or traffic signals where Spzak was crossing Route 209.

Iannone still faces 12 counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and a charge of marijuana possession. Rapa did not file a motion to dismiss those charges.

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