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Man convicted in crash deaths of mother, stepfather

January 18, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Franklin County jury Friday found William E. Foster, no age available, of 1004 Fox Meadow Road, Chambersburg, guilty of two counts of homicide by vehicle in the March 1995 deaths of his mother and stepfather.

Both died when Foster ignored warning gates and drove onto railroad tracks and into the path of an oncoming train, according to court records.

Foster's mother, Cora Lee Wheeler, 63, of 918 Byers Ave., Chambersburg, and her husband, Jerry Wheeler, 42, of the same address, were killed, court records said. Cora Wheeler was pronounced dead at the scene. Jerry Wheeler was thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the hospital.

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Foster escaped serious injury in the crash, although he was hospitalized for two days. He was arrested by Chambersburg city police two weeks later. All traffic control signals were working properly at the railroad crossing on Orchard Drive at the time of the accident, police said.

Defense attorney Robert MacIntyre of Harrisburg, said in closing arguments that the state failed to prove that Foster was driving the car at the time of the accident.

Assistant District Attorney Jill McCracken said Foster faces a maximum sentence of 10 years. Sentencing has been set for March 5 before Judge William Kaye.

Foster is being held at Franklin County Prison, McCracken said.

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