Trooper involved in deadly crash sentenced to prison

April 25, 2013
State police trooper Jeffrey Dalessandro leaves District Judge Carol Southwick’s Union City office following a preliminary hearing in 2012. - Photo courtesy of The Corry Journal

A suspended Pennsylvania state trooper was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in a state prison Thursday in connection with a crash that killed a man 15 months ago in Erie County.

Jeffrey Michael Dalessandro, 36, of Canonsburg, was sentenced by Erie County President Judge Ernest J. DiSantis Jr. Dalessandro pleaded no contest March 4 to charges of homicide by vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of alcohol. As part of the plea agreement, one count of DUI and charges of involuntary manslaughter, careless driving, reckless driving and disregarding a traffic lane were withdrawn by the prosecution.

Dalessandro, who has been suspended without pay since his arrest, had most recently been assigned to Troop B’s Pittsburgh station and also had worked out of the troop’s headquarters in Washington. He joined the state police in January 2003. A state police spokeswoman said Thursday the department had no comment on Dalessandro’s current status.

Dalessandro was driving east on Route 8 at Old Meadville Road, Union Township, when his pickup truck crossed the center line while going around a left-hand curve and collided head-on with a sport utility vehicle driven by Daryl Leroy Nunemaker, 21, of Edinboro. Nunemaker was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dalessandro, who was off duty, had gone to Erie County for a fishing trip. A paramedic at the scene told the state police investigator Dalessandro told him he had several drinks earlier in the evening at a bar in Edinboro. He then was taken to UPMC-Hamot hospital in Erie. Dalessandro reportedly told investigators he had consumed four light beers, but police said his blood-alcohol content was 0.13 percent, more than 1 1/2 times the 0.08 percent limit presumed for intoxication.

Brandon Bingle, the Erie County assistant district attorney who handled the sentencing, said Dalessandro was aware of the mandatory minimum sentence of 3 to 6 years when he entered the plea in March.

“He knew he was going to serve at least three years,” Bingle said Thursday.

Dalessandro was immediately taken into custody by Erie County sheriff’s deputies. He will be processed at State Correctional Institution-Pittsburgh, where it will be determined to which state prison he will be sent.

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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