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Pa. man pleads in fatal car crash

January 04, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

A Pennsylvania man who was to stand trial Tuesday on charges stemming from a March 12, 1999, accident that claimed the life of a Hagerstown woman, decided to enter a guilty plea instead.

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Tony Wesley Gladfelter, 27, of St. Thomas, Pa., pleaded guilty to manslaughter by auto in the death of Aleisha Diane Bagent.

Had Gladfelter opted to stand trial and a Washington County Circuit jury found him guilty, he could have faced a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick Wright delayed sentencing Gladfelter until a pre-sentence investigation is completed.

"There will be incarceration in this matter," Wright said.

Gladfelter was to be held in the Washington County Detention Center until sentencing.

In a prepared statement of facts, Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Arthur Rozes said witnesses were prepared to testify that Gladfelter was gunning his engine just before his red Ford Mustang hit the car driven by Bagent, 18, at the intersection of Winter and West Franklin streets. Bagent died of injuries sustained in the accident.

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"He ran the red light at Winter Street and hit the Bagent vehicle," Rozes said.

The accident reconstructionist who investigated the case estimated Gladfelter's car was traveling at 71 mph when the collision occurred, Rozes said.

The speed limit at that intersection is 25 mph.

Rozes said witnesses reported they did not see brake lights when the collision occurred, suggesting Gladfelter's foot was still on the gas pedal, not the brakes.

In late March, Hagerstown City Police identified and exonerated the driver of a second car previously believed to have been racing with Gladfelter that night.

"There was no race at the time of the crash," Sgt. Mark Renner said March 30.

In court Tuesday defense attorney Martin Palmer held up a piece of paper he said contained the driving record of that other driver.

Gladfelter was treated for minor injuries after the accident and later was released from police custody on $75,000 bond.

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