Man Accused In Fatal South Side Crash In Court

By: Heather Abraham

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The young man from Greene County accused in an accident on Pittsburgh’s South Side that claimed the life of a little girl and injured her mother was in court today.

Travis Isiminger, 23, of Holbrook, Pa., is now facing an upgraded charge of third degree murder in the December 2010 crash.

It was described by one Pittsburgh Police sergeant in court today as the worst damage he’s seen in his career. The devastating crash killed 7-year-old Lexa Cleland.

“An individual is three times the legal limit of intoxication and he decides to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive down the crowded street of East Carson Street, and go 66 miles an hour in a 25 mile per hour zone,” said prosecutor Mark Tranquilli.

Isiminger admitted in written statements to having three liters of beer before getting in his car. Authorities say his breathalyzer tests were .224 and a .219.

He crashed into an on-coming car and then ran away from the scene.

“Its almost a certainty that if you get behind the car with that level of intoxication, and drive at that speed, at that time, at that location, that someone is going to get grievously injured,” added Tranquilli.

The victim’s mother, Nicole Cleland, is still recovering from several injuries she sustained in the crash.

Cleland’s husband, Mark, was in court today along with their daughter, Kathleen, who was in the car at the time of the crash but was uninjured.

“I think he’s just counting his blessings at this point. He still has his wife. They still have one child,” Tranquilli said. “I think what he’s interested in at this point is just seeing justice for the daughter that they lost.”

Defense attorney Charles Lopresti spoke about disagreeing with the third degree murder charge and how noticeably upset his client was in court.

“Could you imagine within just a four or five second period of time, because of something that’s an accident, an unforeseen occurrence, he’s looking at all this,” said Lopresti.

Comments

One Comment

  1. NeeNee says:

    Exactly how can this be an “unforeseen occurrence” when EVERYBODY knows that if you drink and drive the chances of something happening are soooo much greater. This was not an accident…this was manslaughter…this was murder…he chose to drink and he chose to get behind the wheel of a car…it was not an accident.

  2. TIMSTER says:

    He’s a loser, the fact that he knew to run, says it all “GUILTY”. Go for the 2nd degree, he had intent and malice the minute he got behind the wheel. We won’t have to worry about him driving anymore with a 2nd degree.

  3. Dave says:

    Quotes like that final one are reasons why it’s tough to respect some defense attornies.

    He should’ve said “could you imagine within just a four or five second period of time, because of consuming quite a bit of alcohol…to the point that you vomited, getting in your car and doing 2.5 times the speed limit when you’re 2.5 times the legal BAC limit and being surprised that you killed someone?”

  4. what an idiot says:

    Put him in jail and let him swallow the key. Or better yet, put it somewhere else.

    HE IS THE ONLY ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS ACTIONS – NO ONE ELSE IS!

  5. Kevin Weissenstein says:

    I know him and I don’t think he ran…He was going to get something to eat.

    1. Jenna says:

      Are you serious? That is that dumbest comment ever saying I don’t think he ran he was going to get something to eat.. Uhm hello why would he go get something to eat when he was just in a wreck? This man needs to go to jail forever and you need smacked in the face!

      1. Nick Manning says:

        something to eat? he will def get something to eat in prison from Bubba, a big sausage

      2. FixPGH says:

        Yeah, after CRASHING HEAD ON into another car, my first thought would be to go to Primanti’s. Idiot.

    2. WHAT A JERK! says:

      Yep, get something to eat???? Just totaled 2 cars, killed a precious, innocent little girl and get something to eat??? What the hell? I think you need help as well.

  6. JAUN says:

    HOPE HE GETS 50 YEARS AND THE FAMILY GETS 50 MILLION FROM THE BAR WHERE HE WAS DRINKING AT.

    1. I love this city says:

      Oh I was unaware that the bar MADE HIM DRINK AND GET BEHIND THE WHEEL. I guess forks make people fat too. Your ignorance is intolerable.

      1. FixPGH says:

        Bars ARE supposed to refuse to serve you if you are visibly intoxicated so they could be held liable in that case BUT there is the chance a friend was going up and buying the drinks or he didn’t appear that intoxicated while ordering. Although bars need to watch more (SSide bars don’t really give a hoot about anything) I don’t believe they should be held liable for this. The kid should have stopped drinking or not gotten in to his car.

      2. I love this city says:

        I understand that bars are suppose to stop serving drinks to visibly intoxicated people. But look at the ratio of bartenders to patrons. Do you really expect them to babysit every person? I’ve even witness drunks drinking random leftover drinks on tables. The bar should not be held liable for others actions.

  7. shawn says:

    he deserves it stone him hahahaaahahahhahahah

  8. bps says:

    How on earth was this “unforeseen”? The guy got drunk, decided to get behind the wheel and then drove down a busy thoroughfare at parkway speeds. The fact that an accident could occur, much less a tragedy of this magnitude, was anything but “unforeseen”.

    My guess is that most people wouldn’t have a problem finding gross negligence and a depraved heart necessary to convict this guy of murder.

  9. bobbyjo says:

    Defense attorney Charles Lopresti spoke about disagreeing with the third degree murder charge and how noticeably upset his client was in court. Is this so called lawyer an idiot?????He should hang alongside the murderer…

  10. rg says:

    I don’t even know why the word “accident” exsists. “Accidents” are ALWAYS the result of something. In this sad case, there was no accident, it was a diliberate act …he got behind the wheel of his car intoxicated and the result ended in tragedy! I’m sure he never thot or planned the end result – but don’t call it an “accident”!

  11. heyidiot says:

    3X the legal limit….speeding…no “unforseen occurance” here attorney Lopesti!

  12. Ken S says:

    OK drinking and driving is wrong. this was a horibal tragedy he deserves to be punished. It was an accident and could be unforseen. it depends on how you look at it. you are 2.33 times more likely to get killed buy a sober driver. on the other hand you are 4 times more likely to kill some one driveing drunk. its all on how you crunch the numbers. 40000 people get killed in car wrecks each year. 12000 are caused by drunk people. 10 percent of people drive drunk.

    1. Sober says:

      what the F are you talking about Ken S??? These statistics are meaningless. People who are killed in car accidents for any other reason besides being drunk are true accidents. I don’t care if 0.01% of drunk people are involved in fatalities, its still an unacceptable, irriesponsible act of stupidity. So I should feel good that the numbers defend people to drive drunk??? Go ahead, get smashed, drive home like an ass…the statistics show you’ll be fine. You’re dumber than a bag of hammers…and are probably one of the 10% that drives drunk. You need your ass kicked.

  13. wickersham says:

    66 mph on the southside… Who could pull that off sober? Throw away the key!

  14. Heather says:

    If Lopresti is this mans lawyer, he is probably said “unforseen” because he is going to try to argue this case down from murder to man slaughter. “unforseeability” is an element of negligence. I can see where he is going to try to go with his argument and its not going to work. Who couldent figure out that if you drive while your hammered, speed down a crowded road, that it is very possible you could hurt someone. Its as simple as 2+2. Its a shame this. This kid seems misguided at best.

  15. A.M. says:

    I can’t believe the crackheaded things people are saying in this guy’s defense… Yeah, the first damned thing any of us would think of after a head-on collision is going for a sandwich.

  16. A.M. says:

    When this all happened in December, all his friends were commenting on what a “good guy” he is and how it could have happened to any of us. NO, some of us at 23 were more mature and responsible than to do something so stupid. I hope he gets his ass kicked in prison.

    1. FixPGH says:

      You’re right A.M. I am one of those “tattooed freaks” you see on the Southside yet if I have my car down there, I know I want to get home in once piece so I either have a drink or two when I first get down there and then have water the rest of the night, or don’t drink at all depending on how long I am staying. This kid had absolutely no consideration for his own safety, much less any for anyone else. That area is a horrible area, too many bars, too much of a promotion of a good time. These “Good kids” think they are invincible.

  17. Jon says:

    I give the father who was in court all the credit in the world..If that was me that a hole Lopresti wouldnt have to worry about any more charges being added to his client becasue he wouldnt have a client…The guy is a murderer and he is trying to get a lesser penalty for him…I hope the prosecutors dont give this guy one iota of a break..

  18. judgment? says:

    The father of the victim has no room to point fingers. The only reason his wife and children were in the car that night was because they needed to pick him up from work. He needed picked up because his license was suspended because he had a DUI, more than once.

    1. LAS says:

      Who cares what the father’s past is and who says he was there “pointing fingers”??? He is entitled to any form of closure or peace that he can find — he is not the one on trial here for KILLING A CHILD.

      1. FixPGH says:

        Ok judgement and you know this how? Or are you just one of those pathetic yinzers that like to spread false rumors?

      2. judgment says:

        I actually do know first hand actually. I have ties with the family.

  19. STEVE says:

    IF THE LAST COMMENT IS TRUE, THEN ENOUGH SAID AND I DONT THINK EITHER OF THEM WILL BE SLEEPING FOR A LONG LONG TIME. GOD BLESS THE REAL VICTIM

  20. mm says:

    you guys are all idots!!!!!! hes a good kid i went too school with him. he made a really bad decision hands down. but just think for a sec this could happen to anyone off duty cop, one of ur parents, a priest, brother or sister, best friend, ex…….. im not sayin it right but 1000s of people have dui in pittsburgh. they were just lucky enough to not hit anyone! should he get off clean no! but u idots make it seem like hes the anti christ! hes not! hes one of the nicest people ive ever meet! i know what he did is and will eat at him for the rest of his life. he will never forgive himself! so before u throw the stones put urself in his shoes!

    1. I love this city says:

      I would never put myself in his shoes. I’m smarter than that.

    2. FixPGH says:

      mm – I don’t give a flying fcuk on how “good” he was. If he is that stupid to drink and get behind the wheel and drive that fast, then he is setting himself apart from those other DUI people. Not every person that drives under the influence drinks THAT much and drives THAT fast. He KILLED A CHILD. That does make him the anti-christ no matter what his past was. He made not just a “really bad decision” but actually a really horrible, selfish, completely stupid one – there aren’t even any words to describe how asinine this kid is. If this was someone you didn’t know up for this trial – you would be saying the same thing as the rest of us.

      1. Neutral says:

        FixPGH – If your mother killed a kid in a drunk driving accident, would you be saying the horrible things about your own mother like you are this stranger? I think not…so back down…the case, the accident, the victim, and the defendant have nothing to do with you and is none of your business anyways. It can happen to anyone…including you

        mm – you raise a great point that all these other idiots fail to see. touche for having an open mind about the situation, even if he is your friend

    3. Steve M says:

      drinking and driving is wrong. Drinking and driving at 2.5 times the limit is even worse. Drinking and driving, when 2.5 times the limit AND speeding is worse yet. Yes, there are a lot of DUIs, and none of them are justifiable. But this ‘kid’ went well beyond the traditional DUI. And that’s what makes this situation that much WORSE than a ‘regular’ (tongue in cheek) DUI. That, in my opinion, is what makes him _not_ a good ‘kid’. This wasn’t the case of someone having one too many…we’re talking many too many, and not _just_ driving, not just speeding, but doing all the above in a heavily congested area. The end result was almost predictable.

    4. jimmy says:

      mm, you are the biggest idiot of them all..If you call someone an idiot at least know how to spell it you hick..

    5. KAorder says:

      FixPGH – If your mother killed a kid in a drunk driving accident, would you be saying the horrible things about your own mother like you are this stranger? I think not…so back down…the case, the accident, the victim, and the defendant have nothing to do with you and is none of your business anyways. It can happen to anyone…including you

      mm – you raise a great point that all these other idiots fail to see. touche for having an open mind about the situation, even if he is your friend…

  21. RedMosquito says:

    He should NOT have been arrested; men get arrested, dogs get put down.

    1. FixPGH says:

      Ok, so tonight I’ll just go to Southside, get drunk off my @$$, get in to my car, hit and kill someone head on and just walk away. Is that what you want?

      1. Steve M says:

        I think you missed the point. RM is saying that this ‘guy’ is not a man..but an animal.

  22. Jon says:

    Fix PGH, I think you may be missing the point that Mosquito is making..He is calling the murderer a dog thus he should be put down.

  23. jack says:

    If anyone is a witness to Travis’s actions in the Bar or the collision itself , please contact cselden@csiinvestigators.com

    We are assisting the Cleland family. thank you .

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