Trucker charged in two South Strabane crashes

June 17, 2014
Kenneth Layman

A Fayette City man was arrested Monday by state police after he allegedly twice crashed his tractor-trailer into two vehicles during separate wrecks within minutes of each other on Interstate 70 east near the Murtland Avenue exit, South Strabane Township.

Kenneth Layman, 49, is accused by state police of crashing into the rear of a pickup truck driven by Franklin Kuharic of Washington, forcing it into the median, about 5:11 p.m., Kuharic’s truck went through the median, rolling several times before coming to rest in the westbound lanes.

Four minutes later, as he tried to flee the scene, Layman’s rig hit the rear of a sport utility vehicle driven by Daniel Flint, 25, of Scenery Hill. Flint’s vehicle was pushed several hundred yards before it was shoved under the rear of an eastbound tractor-trailer. Police said the vehicle was pinned underneath the trailer, injuring Flint. Layman then reportedly fled the scene.

Nicolas Spears, 33, of Columbus, Ohio, who was driving the tractor-trailer that Flint’s SUV was pushed under, told police he saw Layman’s tractor-trailer hit an embankment before plowing into the back of Flint’s vehicle. Spears tried to move his rig, but Layman drove Flint’s vehicle under it.

Spears told police that Layman then drove about one-eighth of a mile, stopped on the highway, got out and checked his truck before climbing back inside and continuing east.

His truck was later found at a trucking company lot in Somerset Township. Police ran the registration and found a photo of Layman. It matched the description of the truck driver given by Spears. Layman was taken into custody when he returned with his wife.

He was arraigned on several charges including aggravated assault by motor vehicle, accidents involving injury, failure to render aid, causing or risking a catastrophe, reckless endangerment and several traffic violations before District Judge Mark Wilson. He was placed in Washington County jail on $75,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for June 26 before District Judge Jay Weller for the initial crash and June 28 for the second crash.

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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