HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — It was three years ago this week that 36-year-old Marlana Sarver was killed as she tried to make a turn on Route 30 in Somerset County, near Stoystown.
A coal truck rear-ended her car and her young son was seriously hurt. Now, the boy’s father is angry with a judge’s recent ruling.
“It’s wrong,” said Jeff Springer of Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County.
An investigation showed that the coal truck had faulty brakes and some bald tires, so both the truck’s driver, Michael Sullivan, and the truck’s owner were charged with involuntary manslaughter, among other charges.
But the Somerset County District Attorney says an investigation showed that the driver never actually applied the brakes, so the argument before the judge was that faulty brakes didn’t actually cause the crash.
The judge dismissed the most serious charges against the truck’s owner.
“Nobody will ever say anything that will make me believe that that man shouldn’t be held criminally responsible for what happened here,” said Springer.
Springer is now raising the couple’s 6-year-old son Jeremiah, and says he talks to his son about his mother often.
“It rips my heart out,” Springer said. “She was a great mom and I miss her.”
Sullivan still faces serious charges. The truck’s owner now only faces summary charges.
Springer would like laws changed to hold truck owners more accountable and to give them more incentive to maintain the trucks that are put on the road.