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Hearings continued for truckers charged in Pa. fatal crash

November 18, 2008

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A truck driver from Texas and another from California charged in a 2007 Pennsylvania Turnpike pileup that left two people dead had their preliminary hearings continued until next year in Franklin County Central Court.

Michael Edward Ford, 54, of Venus, Texas, and Yu Anmin, 48, of San Gabriel, Calif., both are charged with two counts of vehicular homicide in the Feb. 27, 2007, deaths of James C. Skinner, 41, of Lower Burrell, Pa., and his passenger, John Michael Taylor, 22, of Saltsburg, Pa.

Ford also is charged with two counts each of driving at an unsafe speed and careless driving and Anmin is charged with two counts of following too closely and operating with unsafe equipment, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Pennsylvania State Police.

The two truck drivers had their preliminary hearings continued until Feb. 3, 2009, according to court records. State police did not file charges until August of this year, according to court records.

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At the time of the accident, traffic was backed up about five miles on the turnpike while the wreckage was being cleared from an earlier crash in the westbound lanes near mile marker 182 in Fannett Township, police said. An electric message board at mile marker 192 warned drivers of the stopped traffic ahead, and marked cruisers with their lights on were parked along the westbound lanes facing east.

Police said the tractor-trailer that Ford was driving crashed into the rear of the truck that Anmin was operating, causing a chain-reaction accident involving several vehicles. Skinner and Taylor were in a Ford Five Hundred sedan that was pushed under another tractor-trailer.

Skinner was pronounced dead at the scene of the 3:30 p.m. crash and Taylor died after being airlifted to York (Pa.) Hospital, police said. Four other people in other vehicles also were injured, police said.

The affidavit of probable cause for Anmin stated that he had a commercial driver's license, but was unable to read or speak English, which contributed to his not being aware of the traffic backlog. His truck was going an estimated 42 mph when it struck the vehicle ahead of it, police said.

Ford still was traveling at high rate of speed when his truck struck the rear of the still-moving truck driven by Anmin, police said.

The affidavit and criminal complaint did not explain why investigators had taken 18 months before filing charges.

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