DA: Evidence doesn’t support criminal charges in fatal 2010 crash

February 12, 2013

A McMurray man will not be charged in connection with a four-vehicle crash in Peters Township that killed a Canonsburg teen in 2010 unless new evidence surfaces.

“Right now, the evidence that I’ve seen so far doesn’t support criminal charges against the driver,” Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone said Tuesday.

Vittone explained that evidence shows Thomas B. McNary of Boyer Road, who is diabetic, had suffered a medical condition brought on by low blood sugar when he crashed his sport utility vehicle into a car July 17, 2010, near the intersection of West McMurray Road and Route 19.

The impact caused a chain-reaction collision injuring seven people and resulting in the death of 18-year-old Adah “Adair” Porter.

The 2010 Canon-McMillan graduate was a passenger in a car driven by her fiancé, Teddy Mathis III of Canonsburg. Mathis was the last in a line of four eastbound vehicles that had stopped for a traffic signal when McNary, who was 54 years old at the time of the crash, struck his car in the rear.

After the crash, McNary, who was not injured, left the scene and continued across Route 19 to East McMurray Road, driving about a half-mile before striking the rear of a pickup truck. Police said he left his vehicle and continued to walk east before being apprehended.

First Assistant District Attorney Michael Lucas explained that prosecutors have been unable to determine whether McNary knew enough about his condition to have questioned if he should have been behind the wheel. He said his office could re-examine the matter within the five-year statute of limitation if a lead develops that runs contrary to the current evidence.

Porter’s mother, Cynthia Porter Wright of South Park, said Tuesday that there are inconsistencies in McNary’s statements to law enforcement. She said she feels that neither former District Attorney Steve Toprani nor Vittone had given the matter a thorough review.

“I didn’t really feel like my daughter got a fair chance,” Porter Wright said.

Mathis declined to comment when reached by phone.

While criminal charges have not arisen, the family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming McNary was negligent in failing to monitor his blood-sugar level before operating a vehicle. The suit is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.

Andy McNeil has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2011 as a general assignment reporter. He covers courts and education, and also serves as a photographer and videographer. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University, The Behrend College, with a degree in English; Duquense University with a post-baccalaureate paralegal certificate, and Point Park University with a graduate degree in journalism and mass communication.

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