PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A man has pleaded guilty to charges in a crash that killed a toddler in 2017.
Taylor Jefferson, now 26, of Penn Hills, is accused of causing that crash by driving in reverse on the Parkway North in Ross Township in May of 2017.
In court Thursday morning, Jefferson walked into the courtroom in a striped jumpsuit and kept his head down.
His plea agreement was accepted by the judge. In exchange, the Commonwealth withdrew multiple counts, including two counts of recklessly endangering another person and reckless driving. The court dismissed two counts of failure to use a safety belt.
However, counts one through five still stand. They include homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of children.
— Amy Wadas (@AmyWadas) June 27, 2019
Jefferson was behind the wheel of a Toyota, driving north, when the crash happened a little more than two years ago. His brother, 23-year-old Tyrek Jefferson, was a passenger in the front seat. He was also charged in this case.
Taylor’s 2-year-old niece, Saryiah, who is Tyrek’s daughter, was in the back seat of the car.
State police say Tyler was backing up in the lefthand lane heading north, when he was struck from behind by an oncoming car. It was determined that Taylor was going about 15 miles per hour backwards when the car that hit him from behind was going between 60 and 70 miles per hour. Investigators believe he put the car in reverse because he was trying to get off the Perrysville exit.
No child safety seat was inside the car, and Saryiah did not have on a seat belt.
Following the crash, state police said both men appeared to be confused and slurred their words, and there were indications both had possibly been smoking marijuana.
Tyler will likely spend the next three to six years behind bars, plus probation.
He will be formally sentenced on July 16.