Pa. woman charged in fatal accident

June 26, 1997


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - A preliminary hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. today in the case of a Shade Gap, Pa. woman charged in McConnellsburg with the motor vehicle deaths of a Fort Littleton, Pa. father and daughter on June 7.

Brenda Lee Downin, 29, Box 3905, will appear before Fulton County District Justice Brenda Knepper.

She was charged with two counts each of involuntary manslaughter, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol, and homicide by a vehicle, and one count each of driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, and driving on roadways laned for traffic.

Downin is being held in Franklin County Prison on $400,000 bond.

Max T. "Dutch" Fraker, 91, and his daughter, Judith M. Fraker, 54, both of HCR 75, Box 24, Fort Littleton, Pa., were killed in the head-on collision on Saturday, June 7 on U.S. 522.


The 7:26 p.m. accident occurred when the Fraker's 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity was hit head-on by a 1989 Chevrolet truck driven by Downin, according to a police report.

Police said Downin's truck was heading northbound on U.S. 522 when it crossed into the southbound lane into the path of Fraker's car, hitting it head-on.

The accident occurred approximately one mile north of Sheep Skin Hollow Road, police said.

Both vehicles were severely damaged.

Downin was treated for injuries at Fulton County Medical Center after firefighters from Hustontown Area Volunteer Fire Department removed her from the truck.

She was released from the hospital on Monday, June 9, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Police said the Frakers were wearing their seat belts, but they would not say whether Downin was.

Max Fraker worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the state Turnpike Commission until retiring in 1967.

Judith Fraker worked as a clerk at the McConnellsburg office of the state Health Department for 37 years.

On June 22, another automobile accident in Fulton County claimed the lives of three men, and one McConnellsburg man remains in serious condition at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown.

Kenneth Spriggs, 24, was a passenger in the 1986 Mercury Cougar when it sheared off a utility pole and hit several trees before coming to rest on its roof on Pa. 655, about three miles south of Harrisonville, Pa.

The car's driver, Earl J. Souders, 27, of McConnellsburg, and two other passengers, Steven Groce, 17, of McConnellsburg, and Michael Grove, 17, of Altoona, Pa. were pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident is still under investigation.

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