Man charged in traffic death

January 15, 2013
Zachery Reihner

A Washington man was arraigned Monday on charges including homicide by vehicle in a Washington crash last summer that killed a 21-year-old woman.

Zachery Reihner, 25, of 286 E. Prospect Ave., is also charged by city police Detective Daniel Rush with accidents involving death while not properly licensed, driving under suspension, failure to drive at a safe speed, speeding, careless driving and reckless endangerment in the death of Rebecca Soffel.

Police were called in the early morning hours of July 14 to the 200 block of East Maiden Street. Police found a Jeep Grand Cherokee near a utility pole, partially on the sidewalk off the eastbound lane of East Maiden near South Lincoln Street.

Reihner was pinned inside the vehicle. Police were not able to immediately see Soffel because of the collapsed roof on the vehicle.

Police said Reihner was conscious and kept asking about Soffel, who was pinned under the roof. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Reihner was taken to Washington Hospital and transferred to UPMC, Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh for treatment.

Police said Reihner was driving between 77 and 88 mph when he crashed the vehicle into the pole.

Reihner, who had a slight odor of alcohol, told police that he and Soffel had been drinking at a local bar. Tests showed his blood-alcohol content did not exceed the 0.08 limit presumed for intoxication. He also tested positive for unspecified opiates, police indicated in court documents.

Reihner, who is incarcerated on unrelated charges at SCI-Greene, was arraigned via video before District Judge Robert Redlinger, who set bond at $100,000. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 23 in Central Court.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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