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Fatal DUI case set to be tried in July

May 20, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- A Chambersburg woman charged in the death of a man who was killed when the car she was driving was struck by a train is scheduled to stand trial in July.

Helen Louise Gordon, 47, of 131 Bumbaugh Ave., is charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, second offense driving under the influence, driving under the influence with an alcohol content above 0.08 percent, careless driving and disobedience to signals indicating an approaching train.

She is charged in connection with a Dec. 8, 2006, accident in which her passenger, Kevin L. Taylor, was killed.

Taylor, 37, of 550 S. Main St. in Chambersburg, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 6:16 p.m. accident at the railroad crossing east of U.S. 11 on Pa. 914 near Marion, Pa.

Pennsylvania State Police said Gordon's 1992 Dodge Spirit was struck on the passenger side by a southbound Norfolk Southern Train.

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Taylor was thrown from the vehicle through the passenger side window by the impact. He was flown to York (Pa.) Hospital, police said.

Several beer cans were found in and around the car, police said.

Gordon was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday, but waived her case to trial by pleading not guilty to the charges.

A spokeswoman for the Franklin County District Attorney's Office said Gordon will be on the July court list.

Gordon's case had been stayed since 2007 to allow time for a psychiatric evaluation of her competency to stand trial.

Assistant Public Defender Kevin Chernosky said at the time that he had serious concerns about Gordon's ability to participate in her own defense.

The court ordered Gordon to undergo a mental evaluation, and in March 2009, the stay on her case was lifted, moving it forward to arraignment and trial.

Gordon's attorney was unavailable for comment as to why the stay was lifted.

She also faces misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession that were filed after police searched her residence on Bumbaugh Avenue on Dec. 15, 2007, and found marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to court records.

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