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Woman faces homicide charges in fatal crash

December 30, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG - Pennsylvania State Police on Friday formally charged Sabrina Lynn Whitsel with homicide in the Dec. 13 traffic deaths of high school running coach Tim Cook and his wife, Sue, according to court records.

Warrants were issued charging Whitsel, 38, of 250 Goodhart Road, Shippensburg, Pa., with two counts of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.

Tests showed Whitsel had a blood alcohol count of .18 percent. The legal limit in Pennsylvania is .10. She also tested positive for marijuana, according to charging documents in District Justice Larry Meminger's office.

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Meminger said police have not served the warrants because Whitsel is still hospitalized for injuries she suffered in the accident. A spokeswoman at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., Friday listed Whitsel's condition as good.

No date has been set for a preliminary hearing.

According to court records, Whitsel also was charged Friday with one count each of DUI, failure to drive in the established lane, careless driving and driving at a speed greater than reasonable.

The accident occurred about two miles south of Exit 16 in the northbound lane of Interstate 81 in Guilford Township, according to police.

Witnesses told police Whitsel was swerving in and out of lanes at a high rate of speed in her pickup truck in the southbound lane on the interstate, court records said.

Witnesses said that Whitsel would drive at a high rate of speed then brake hard and slow down, court records said.

Shortly after 11 p.m., she crossed the grass median at mile marker 13.5 and struck the Cooks' northbound Toyota, causing it to spin out of control. The Toyota was subsequently struck by two tractor-trailers, police said.

Tim Cook, 49, was a math teacher and for 28 years was the girls' cross country coach at Chambersburg Area Senior High School. His wife, also 49, was an administrative assistant at Shippensburg University.

They were pronounced dead at the scene.

The couple lived at 3774 Pampas Circle, Chambersburg. They are survived by two college-age children.

More than 1,600 people attended a Dec. 21 community memorial service for the Cooks in Chambersburg.

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