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Slatington man faces involuntary manslaughter for 2018 Palmerton crash

Published August 06. 2019 12:52PM


A Slatington man has been charged after he fatally struck a pedestrian with his vehicle last year.

Joseph McCoy, 25, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, homicide by vehicle, DUI controlled substance, driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, careless driving and reckless driving.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Detective Kevin Buck of the Palmerton Borough Police Department:

Buck was called to the 200 block of Delaware Avenue on the morning of Dec. 12, 2018, for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle.

Buck met borough police officer Shawn Leadbetter, who had witnessed the victim, Clair Fatzinger, 81, of Lower Towamensing Township, unconscious and with severe trauma to his head and neck area.

Leadbetter said that the offending vehicle was parked down the road and was found to be a 2018 Subaru Impreza, which was being operated by McCoy.

Leadbetter spoke with McCoy, who provided a statement saying that he believed he had observed Fatzinger between two vehicles on the south side of the roadway.

McCoy said Fatzinger ran out in front of his vehicle and he didn’t have time to stop.

Leadbetter said that as he spoke with McCoy, he noticed that he had red eyes, which prompted him to ask if he was on anything.

McCoy admitted to smoking marijuana the previous evening.

Leadbetter then transported McCoy to St. Luke’s Palmerton Campus for a legal blood draw and then to the borough police department where he was provided his Miranda warnings, which he signed and waived for an interview.

McCoy gave a statement in which he said he was on his way to work traveling at around 35 mph, and saw a pedestrian between two parked cars peek his head out.

McCoy said he then stepped on his brakes and hit his horn, at which time Fatzinger went back in between the cars until he was about to pass by, and that Fatzinger ran out in front of the car.

McCoy also reiterated that he had smoked marijuana the night before.

Through the investigation and reconstruction, it was found that Fatzinger had actually been crossing from the opposite side of the street and was never between two parked cars, nor was he anywhere that McCoy had placed him.

Further, it was discovered that McCoy had just completed a phone call at around the same time he struck Fatzinger.

On Dec. 13, 2018, an autopsy on Fatzinger determined the cause of death was blunt-force trauma.

McCoy is currently free in lieu of $50,000 unsecured bail, and is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Aug. 21 before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton.


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