Hearing Postponed For Taxi Driver Accused In Downtown Crash

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Davon Burkes and his mother showed up at Municipal Court on Wednesday afternoon thinking they would come face-to-face with Dale Dern, the taxi driver charged with mowing down Burkes and a second man, Jaafar Bey.

Bey was killed at the scene.

Burkes’ mother, Shelly, clearly shaken, said, “It’s just tragic to come here today and have to relive it all. My son did not want to come.”

It happened at the busy intersection of Liberty Avenue and Sixth street downtown on the night of March 17.

Burkes and Bey were waiting on a bus when a Veterans Taxi cab, driven by Dern, jumped the curb where the two men were standing. The Burkes say that night changed everything.

“My son’s life has been screwed up ever since the incident. He is paranoid, you don’t sleep, he said every time he sleeps he sees the man,” Shelley said. “He cannot go back to work right now. He’s still in therapy and they said his knee is so loose, he tore three ligaments, and they said he will probably have to have surgery, but will still be limping.”

Dern was scheduled for a preliminary hearing, but the case was postponed.

In addition, a charge of vehicular homicide for Bey’s death, Dern is also facing counts of driving under the influence.

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Burkes’ mother felt some relief in court, but she says she doesn’t think she or her son were ready to face the man that changed their lives forever.

“As a single parent, we always teach our black men to stay off the corners and work, and that’s what he was doing, he was working, so for that to happen, it destroyed me and my son’s life,” Shelly said.

Dern remains in the Allegheny County Jail. His new court date is Aug. 23.

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