Hyundai Genesis Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,780 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mechanic charged with involuntary manslaughter for botched brake job that left one de

Quote:
Mechanic's charges a 'test case'
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
By Daniel Malloy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Investigators first traced the cause of a fatal crash in Brookline to the brakes, then to the fluid cap, then to the mechanic who left the cap unscrewed.

Last week, the mechanic was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, setting in motion what legal experts say is a remarkable case.

"I have not heard of anything like that," said Duquesne Law School professor Bruce Antkowiak, a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.

"It's a law school test case."

Mark Fabian, 33, of the North Side, faces a preliminary hearing that prosecutors said will be scheduled for March 27 on charges that he caused the death of Colleen Visconti and injuries to three others.

The Sept. 3 crash happened when the brakes failed on a minivan transporting Ms. Visconti and two special-needs students home from the Pioneer Education Center in Brookline. The van crashed into a tree off of Dunster Street near Abstract Avenue.

Ms. Visconti, 53, of Bellevue, died Sept. 12 of complications from the abdominal injuries she suffered in the crash. Students Walter Chancellor and Tyler Blazier were treated for head and facial injuries at Children's Hospital.

According to a criminal complaint, driver Jennifer Logan, who fractured her leg in the wreck, told investigators that she noticed problems with the brakes on the Dodge Caravan earlier in the day. She took it to the Lawrenceville garage for A-1 Van Service, which owned the van.

Mr. Fabian was assigned to work on the van, and he told officers from the collision investigative unit that he did a thorough job. But officers presented evidence to the contrary.

According to the complaint, investigators found an obvious crack in the right rear brake and dust on both rear brakes, suggesting they had not been examined.

The most crucial piece, though, was the master cylinder filling cap, which was not reattached after being unscrewed. Investigators determined that the cap's absence allowed brake fluid to drain from the car, rendering the brakes lifeless.

Ms. Logan said that as she went down the Dunster Street hill, she pressed the pedal all the way down, but it had no effect. Investigators found a trail of brake fluid from the top of the hill to the crash site.

Mr. Fabian insisted that he never opened the hood and wasn't responsible for the misplaced yellow cap.

But investigator Michael McNamara noted in his report that when confronted with the physical evidence, Mr. Fabian became evasive and avoided eye contact.

Officer McNamara concluded that Mr. Fabian lied on a work order claiming he had inspected the vehicle and lied about the cylinder cap.

"Mark Fabian's failure to place this vehicle out of service is the cause of this crash," Officer McNamara wrote.

To convict Mr. Fabian, prosecutors must prove that his actions -- or inactions -- caused the wreck, and those actions were "reckless or grossly negligent."

Criminal defense attorney and former Allegheny County prosecutor Patrick Nightingale said that's a tough standard to meet.

"Is the commonwealth going to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this guy's mistake was so egregious that it merits criminal responsibility?" Mr. Nightingale said. "It's going to be very interesting and potentially very defensible."

Though the circumstances are much different, observers compared Mr. Fabian's case with two other Allegheny County manslaughter cases: a 1995 HOV lane crash in which the lane operator opened a switch for traffic in both directions, and a 2006 crash caused when a wood chipper came loose from a tree service worker's truck.

Neither case went to trial. William Snyder, the HOV operator, and Bradley Demitras, the truck driver, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Stephie-Anna Ramaley, a former Allegheny County assistant district attorney who prosecuted the Demitras case, said the challenge in her case was showing that Mr. Demitras' failure to inspect his truck before taking it onto the highway constituted criminal negligence.

After hearing the facts of the Fabian case, Ms. Ramaley said the issue instead will be if prosecutors can prove that the defendant's failure to act was a direct cause of the fatal wreck.

"Your criminal negligence standard is met by him lying about it and covering it up," said Ms. Ramaley, who now practices construction law.

"If they can prove that."

Daniel Malloy can be reached at [email protected] or 412-263-1731.
First published on March 11, 2009 at 12:00 am



100% free webcam site! | Awesome chicks and it is absolutely free! | Watch free live sex cam - easy as 1-2-3
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
190 Posts
While this is a sad case and the mechanic is totally incompetent but a year of law in university is enough to tell me that it will not hold up in court. Heck, I doubt that it will even make it to trial. At best, the mechanic is liable for a civil suit but definitely not a criminal one. Involuntary manslaughter requires criminal negligence in order to be prosecuted and while this case is truly one of utter negligence it is in no way criminal. I don't want to protect Mr. Fabian but there is absolutely no way to prove that this man was directly responsible for the brake failure, nor does the brake fluid leaking have anything to do with dust or a crack in one of the brakes. This is exactly why you have something called an emergency brake that is completely independent from the main braking system.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,511 Posts
While this is a sad case and the mechanic is totally incompetent but a year of law in university is enough to tell me that it will not hold up in court. Heck, I doubt that it will even make it to trial. At best, the mechanic is liable for a civil suit but definitely not a criminal one. Involuntary manslaughter requires criminal negligence in order to be prosecuted and while this case is truly one of utter negligence it is in no way criminal. I don't want to protect Mr. Fabian but there is absolutely no way to prove that this man was directly responsible for the brake failure, nor does the brake fluid leaking have anything to do with dust or a crack in one of the brakes. This is exactly why you have something called an emergency brake that is completely independent from the main braking system.
Tort law in Canada is probably a little different. In the states, we have people win lawsuits for spilling how coffee in their laps because no one told them it was hot. Or pizza guys causing accidents because they had to get to their destination in 30 minutes or it was free, thereby causing accidents due to aggressive driving. Both of those were in the 10's of millions. I can see this leading to civil damages big time, criminally it will be interesting, especially if the work was performed with a lunch break or something during the in shop time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
190 Posts
Tort law in Canada is probably a little different. In the states, we have people win lawsuits for spilling how coffee in their laps because no one told them it was hot. Or pizza guys causing accidents because they had to get to their destination in 30 minutes or it was free, thereby causing accidents due to aggressive driving. Both of those were in the 10's of millions. I can see this leading to civil damages big time, criminally it will be interesting, especially if the work was performed with a lunch break or something during the in shop time.
My studies were done at Univesity of Michigan Law School... finances prohibited me from continuing after two trimesters. If it even makes it to trial it will be interesting, I agree.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,511 Posts
My studies were done at Univesity of Michigan Law School... finances prohibited me from continuing after two trimesters. If it even makes it to trial it will be interesting, I agree.
Too bad about the cash flow, U of M is hard to get into to.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,273 Posts
There is a guy on our forums that is actually the mechanic's cousin and said he knows all the details.

Buschur Forums Member: XxXxX said:
You guys are going to love it when I tell you what happened.

Think more along the lines of "driver abuse".
We're all telling him to stay quiet until everything is handled though.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top