2nd guilty plea in deadly Jan. Schuylkill crash
July 6, 2009 (WPVI) -- The garage owner, 61-year-old Joseph Jadczak, appeared in court Monday to plead guilty to homicide by vehicle and related charges. No sentencing date has been set. The owner of the truck, 41-year-old Victor Kalinitchii, is awaiting trial.
The driver of the truck, 55-year-old Valerijs Belovs, pleaded guilty last week to homicide by vehicle, 5 counts of reckless endangerment and related charges. He is awaiting sentencing.
It happened east of the Conshohocken curve at around 9:30 a.m. on January 23, 2009.
49-year-old David Schreffler of Fort Washington was killed. His passenger was severely injured.
The driver, Valerijs Belovs, who lives in Northeast Philadelphia, told police he tried to stop but the brakes failed. Police inspected the truck and found that it was in no condition to be driven on the highway.
The brakes were all deficient, according to authorities. Some of the brakes were not functioning at all.
Authorities say Belovs made a cross country loop, 9600 miles in 10 days, riding the emergency brake all the way.
Also, investigators have uncovered that Belovs had been on the road far longer than he indicated in his log book. He has been arrested was arraigned on numerous charges including homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter.
During his 10 day odyssey, police say Belovs called the owner of the truck, Victor Kalinitchii 89 times complaining about the brakes. But he was urged to stay on the road.
Police say Kalinitchii simply went to Pratt's Auto Service in Bridesburg and bought inspection stickers.
The garage is owned by Joseph Jadczak. Both he and Kalinitchii were arrested.
Authorities say traffic was stopped on the Schuylkill Expressway because of sun glare on the morning of January 23, 2009. Police say the truck, travelling at a high rate of speed around the curve, couldn't stop in time and slammed into the vehicles ahead.
In the course of the accident a 1997 Infiniti sedan became pinned beneath both the tractor trailer and an SUV when all three vehicles collided.
After the initial impact, three additional vehicles were struck.
There were two occupants of the vehicle that was pinned beneath the tractor trailer and the SUV.
The driver of that vehicle was killed instantly.
The eastbound lanes of the highway were closed for five hours, the westbound lanes were closed for three hours.
Police say it took so long because a life was lost, and they had to treat the pileup like a possible crime scene.
Police urge everyone to use this incident to learn a lesson: If you come upon stopped traffic, leave some room, enough to get out of the way if you have to.
The Schuylkill Expressway is notorious for traffic jams and fender-benders, but surprisingly PennDOT says there have been only three reportable accidents on the stretch between Conshohocken and Gladwyne over the past five years.
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