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Man charged in wife's death waives hearing in Pa.

July 19, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Hancock, Md., man charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence in the death of his wife last year in a traffic accident in Warren Township waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday in Franklin County Central Court.

Steven Lawrence Huff, 46, of 13822 Vantz St., also was charged by Pennsylvania State Police with homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child in the Aug. 6, 2005, accident in which Michelle D. Huff, 39, was killed. His mandatory arraignment in the Court of Common Pleas is scheduled for Sept. 6, according to court records.

Police did not file charges against Huff until May 26, court records stated. Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom said the state police accident reconstruction report was not received until March.

Steven Huff told police he was driving a 1988 Ford pickup south in the 9000 block of Little Cove Road at 6:50 p.m. when a deer ran in front of the pickup, according to the affidavit of probable cause. He told police he swerved to avoid the deer, lost control and struck a tree.

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Michelle Huff was pronounced dead at the scene. Steven Huff's granddaughter, Makayla Huff, then 4, was treated for injuries she sustained in the crash, police said.

Police said Steven Huff declined medical treatment following the accident and refused to give a blood sample for testing.

A witness who arrived at the scene after the accident, but before police got there, said he saw Huff finish a bottle of beer and throw it into the woods, police said. Several beer bottles were found "scattered throughout the scene," police said.

Nine days after the fatal accident, Huff was charged with driving under the influence for another accident in the 13000 block of Little Cove Road, according to court records.

Police said Huff was driving a 1996 Ford Ranger that ran off the road. A test taken after that crash indicated Huff had a blood alcohol level of .177 percent, more than twice the level for legal intoxication in Pennsylvania.

Huff pleaded guilty Jan. 23 to driving under the influence and was sentenced March 1 to three days to six months in Franklin County Prison, according to court records.

Homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence is a third-degree felony in Pennsylvania, punishable by up to seven years in prison. A conviction carries a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison.

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