Debate about Skid Marks in DUI Trial

download (80)During the trial of  Jared Schillinger, 30, of Cheswick who has been charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI, State police Cpl. Gregory Brandt testified that he used the skid marks that began almost 47 feet before impact to calculate the defendant’s rate of speed.  The February 16, 2013 crash took the life of Rikki Fleming, 18, of Etna.

However, another expert for the defense, Former Trooper David Fries, testified later in the day that Mr. Schillinger’s vehicle that the skid marks used by state police investigators to estimate the speed the defendant was traveling were not created by Schillinger’s vehicle and that the defendant was moving only about 56 mph.  Fries alleged that the skid marks used by investigators did not match those of Schillinger’s 2008 Volkswagen GTI, and were between 5 and 6 inches off.

Mr. Fries indicated that the impact from the crash should only have been considered moderate because of the amount of damage to both cars.

However, during the accident, Fleming lost control of her 2000 Hyundai; the crash caused her car to travel up an embankment and roll over violently onto the roadway.   Fleming died at the scene of the crash.

Other witnesses state that Schillinger said that conditions were dry at the time of the crash. According to the investigator’s record he had a blood alcohol content of 0.23, more than three times the legal limit.   In spite of eyewitness testimony and evidence entered into the case, Schillinger claimed that Fleming’s vehicle didn’t have any tail lights on, and that he didn’t see her.  Both the prosecution and defense agree, however, that at least the left tail light of Ms. Fleming’s vehicle was on at the time of impact.

Both expert witnesses are in agreement that the defendant caused the accident.

Facing the charge of DUI, especially when there are fatalities involved, can be very serious. If convicted, there is usually jail time, heavy fines, and many other consequences that can happen as a result.   A DUI conviction can also cost your job and that can take its toll on you and your loved ones.  When facing a DUI charge, you need to have an attorney who will fight on your side.

Steven E. Kellis has more than two decades of experience in representing DUI clients. Mr. Kellis will meet with you, even if you are currently in jail. If you or a loved one is facing the charge of DUI, call the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis. We are available for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can schedule a confidential initial consultation and legal analysis that is without cost or obligation to you.