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Two truckers could face extradition over deadly Pa. Turnpike crash

March 18, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Two tractor-trailer drivers charged in a 2007 pileup on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that killed two men could face extradition if they do not submit written waivers of arraignment in the next few days, officials said.

Michael E. Ford, 55, of Venus, Texas, and Yu Anmin, 49, of San Gabriel, Calif., each were charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle in the Feb. 27, 2007, crash that killed James C. Skinner, 41, of Lower Burrell, Pa., and his passenger John Michael Taylor, 22, of Saltsburg, Pa.

In February, charges against Ford and Anmin were reduced to reckless endangering another person.

Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson said attorneys for both men indicated to him that letters waiving arraignment were forthcoming.

Ford and Anmin were scheduled for mandatory arraignments Wednesday, Nelson said.

By Wednesday afternoon, representatives in the Franklin County Clerk of Courts office said neither defendant had submitted an official letter.

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Nelson said if his office does not receive the letters in a few days, he will seek a bench warrant to extradite the men to Franklin County, where they will be held until trial in May.

Ford's attorney, Terrence McGowan of Harrisburg, Pa.-based firm Killian and Gephart LLP, could not be reached Wednesday. Anmin's attorney, Christopher Patterson of Lancaster, Pa.-based firm Patterson, Cody, Taylor & Winters, also was unavailable for comment.

Pennsylvania State Police had not charged Ford and Anmin in the deaths until August 2008, according to court records.

Police allege Anmin and Ford were driving too fast for conditions at the time of the accident. Traffic was backed up for several miles on the turnpike while police cleared wreckage from an earlier crash.

Anmin's tractor-trailer was traveling about 42 mph when it struck the backlog of traffic, polce said. The tractor-trailer Ford was driving was traveling about 65 mph when it struck the rear of Anmin's truck, police said.

In the resulting chain-reaction crash, the Ford Five Hundred in which Skinner and Taylor were riding was pushed beneath the rear of another tractor trailer, police said.

Skinner was pronounced dead at the scene, and Taylor died after being airlifted to York (Pa.) Hospital, police said.

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