New Castle News

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May 18, 2013

Police: texting led to fatal accident

NEW CASTLE — Police claim a woman’s texting on a cell phone contributed to a fatal accident earlier this month in Hickory Township.

Laura E. Gargiulo, 42, of 2662 State Route 956, Volant, faces homicide by vehicle and other charges in connection with the May 7 death of Daniel E. Gallatin of Scott Township.

According to Hickory Township police, who filed the charges against Gargiulo, Gallatin, 68, was eastbound on Route 956 around 1:30 p.m. when his motorcycle was struck from behind by Gargiulo’s Toyota Sequoia.

Police said Gallatin and his motorcycle were dragged under the Toyota before the vehicle stopped. A bystander attempted CPR on Gallatin, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the office of District Judge Melissa Amodie, Gargiulo told two officers at the scene she had been texting at the time of the accident.

Later, police obtained a search warrant for Gargiulo’s cellphone. The criminal complaint said the phone received a text message which Gargiulo had opened at the time the accident occurred.

State police assisted Hickory officers with an analysis and reconstruction of the accident scene. The results of that are pending.

Gallatin was a former chief of the Scott Township Volunteer Fire Department.

In addition to homicide by vehicle, Gargiulo also is charged with involuntary manslaughter, prohibition of text-based communication, careless driving, reckless driving, accidents involving damage to attended vehicle and aggravated assault by vehicle.

A warrant had been issued Friday for Gargiulo’s arrest. She was to be picked up Friday evening.

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