New Castle News

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January 4, 2013

Mother: Revoke bond of suspect

NEW CASTLE — The mother of a child struck and killed by a truck is seeking help.

Cynthia Clark, mother of Octavius Stone, is asking area residents to sign an online petition to place the man accused of causing her loss behind bars until his trial.

“I want justice for my son,” she said. “And for Ozzy.”

Octavius, 7, and his friend, Ozzy Velez, 9, of Volant, were playing in Ozzy’s grandmother’s yard Nov. 25 when a vehicle, allegedly driven by Virgil Coonfare, 67, of West Moody Avenue, drove up an embankment and ran over the boys.

Octavius died at the scene. Ozzy was flown to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh for treatment and released the next day.

Coonfare was charged with homicide by vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, aggravated assault by vehicle and driving while under the influence of a controlled substance.

He remains free on bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 7.

Attempts to reach Coonfare’s attorney, David Acker, were unsuccessful.

Clark is asking the public to help her rectify what she sees as an injustice.

“My son is dead,” she said. “And the man who caused this, who caused my pain, is free.

“This was a very bad Christmas for my family. My daughters and I are trying to rebuild our lives, but we miss my son terribly. You hate to see this happen. No one deserves this.”

She said Ozzy is doing well, “But he’s a little boy. He shouldn’t have the memories he has of watching his little friend die.”

Clark said the petition, urging the legal system to revoke Coonfare’s bond, was posted about Dec. 20 by Octavius’ father, Kris Stone. She said it contains about 337 signatures but the goal is to get 1,000 people to sign it.

Anyone interested in adding his or her name and a comment can find the site at http://www.change.org/petitions/justice-for-octavius-and-ozzy-for-stiffer-dui-laws-and-for-virgil-coonfare-to-be-in-jail-til-the-trial.

“The boys were playing in the yard, not close to the road,” Clark said. “The truck came up a five-foot embankment and hit them.”

A note on the site recounts events of Nov. 25 and states, “The day my son was laid to rest, Virgil Coonfare was released on 2500 dollars bond and as far as I’m concerned that is outrageous.”

However, the amount of the bond is incorrect, it is $25,000.

The site also states the petition will be delivered to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Gov. Tom Corbett, and to the Pennsylvania State Senate and House of Representatives.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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