McDonald teen waives charges in fatal crash

February 5, 2014
Jordan Jacobson, in argyle sweater, leaves court after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday. - Kathie Warco / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

A McDonald teen charged in the crash last July that killed two of his friends and injured another waived his case Wednesday to Washington County Court.

Jordan David Jacobson, 19, of 108 Terrace St., was reportedly high on marijuana and speeding when he crashed his vehicle on Joffre-Bulger Road in Smith Township July 27. Killed in the crash were Michael “Dillon” Gregg, 22, of Bulger, and Joseph Bowland, 20, of McDonald. Injured was Benjamin Bowman, 20, of McDonald.

State Trooper Todd Stephenson, who filed the charges, indicated in court documents a witness told investigators Jacobson had smoked marijuana less than an hour before the crash. Jacobson lost control of his vehicle on a sharp, left-hand curve near Manor Drive. He tried to correct the car, which went into a “barrel roll” for more than 250 feet. Gregg and Bowland were ejected from the car. The investigation showed that Jacobson’s vehicle was traveling 78 mph at the time of the crash. Toxicology tests done on Jacobson at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh showed he had traces of marijuana in his system, police said.

Jacobson had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Central Court before District Judge Joshua Kanalis on charges including homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence of a controlled substance, homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle and aggravated assault in addition to the traffic violations.

Kanalis explained to family and friends of the victims, several who wore T-shirts commemorating their loved ones, that the burden of proof the commonwealth must present at the preliminary hearing level is just to show a crime was committed and the person charged is likely the one who did it.

Jacobson remains free on $100,000 unsecured bond.

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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