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Man pleads guilty in Indiana County bicyclist's 2005 death

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erok

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May 4 2012 at 4:32pm #

INDIANA, Pa. – After a long appeals process that saw charges dismissed and later reinstated, a man pleaded guilty Friday in connection with the hit-and-run death of Indiana County bicyclist Sean Pearce.

Greg Wisneski Jr. pleaded guilty to a charge of an accident involving death or personal injury. Judge William Martin will sentence him on July 13 — two days shy of the date on which the 29-year-old Pearce died in 2005.

Pearce’s sisters told Channel 4 Action News reporter Amber Nicotra that they were happy and at peace now that the case has finally come to a resolution.

Wisneski is still in court and has not commented yet. He will remain free while he awaits his sentencing date.

Pearce, of Blairsville, was found lying on Route 119 in Burrell Township early on the morning of July 15, 2005, state police said.

Wisneski was arrested in 2006, but defense attorneys argued that the state couldn’t prove Pearce was alive when Wisneski hit him.

Wisneski said he “thought he hit a speed bump” and looked in his mirror and “seen a body laying on his back,” the police report said.

The Superior Court agreed with the defense’s argument that the case should be dismissed. Later, the state Supreme Court overruled and said Wisneski should stand trial.

http://www.wtae.com/news/local/Man-pleads-guilty-in-Indiana-County-bicyclist-s-2005-death/-/9681086/12563146/-/1470ubtz/-/index.html

that bolded quote made me sick.

did anyone know about this case?


reddan

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May 4 2012 at 4:42pm #

did anyone know about this case?

I remember reading some paraphrase of this:

Wisneski was arrested in 2006, but defense attorneys argued that the state couldn’t prove Pearce was alive when Wisneski hit him.

a few years back, and being convinced that it was a joke.


myddrin

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May 4 2012 at 4:53pm #

That is some variation on the Chewbacca defense that I’d not heard of previously…

Seems like they were using a tactic of “win on appeal to incompetence of the defense.”


Marko82

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May 4 2012 at 5:09pm #

If I remember the story correctly, the victim was possibly hit by more than one vehicle. So the defense might have had a legitimate argument about the defendant not causing the victims death, but the fact that he did not stop to render aide makes this claim absurd in my opinion.

I hope he gets significant jail time.


erok

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May 4 2012 at 6:43pm #

so sad :(


ejwme

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May 4 2012 at 6:48pm #

So best case, this IS the guy who killed him, and he’s not charged with hit and run.

Worst case, this is one of multiple people who hit the guy, none of which stopped.

I gotta quit reading these threads. I don’t like the feeling that psychopathy is so prevalent.


reddan

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May 4 2012 at 7:01pm #

I gotta quit reading these threads. I don’t like the feeling that psychopathy is so prevalent.

What scares me isn’t the relative prevalence of psychopathy…all things considered, they’re still pretty few and far between. What scares me far more is the general societal apathy towards and acceptance of these flavors of psychosis.

The problem isn’t really the nuts; the problem is all the people who don’t care about the nuts’ behavior.


Mick

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May 4 2012 at 7:05pm #

These folks are callous, irresponsible and crazy – but they are not usually a problem until they get control of a motor vehicle.

If they behaved in such a deadly fashion without a car, people would be outraged.


Pierce

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May 4 2012 at 7:08pm #

I don’t think it is necessarily psychopathy. After typing a bunch of profanity, I was wondering what would motivate a person to not stop, like when the guy got hit on the bridge (both here and in Ohio)

Without talking to the people, I’m imagining it is a response based out of fear. Fear of the consequences of stopping and being held liable for hitting the person. Jail time, losing their license, etc might persuade people to not stop. After they leave the accident, the criminal aspect grows, continuing to place fear in their mind.

Look at flip-flop boy for example. He stopped and we were collectively after his neck. I would stop if I hit a person. While at the same time, I can see why a person would be afraid to. If we attach punitive punishments to these accidents, I think we can expect a general trend leaning towards non-accountability.


Dan1981

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May 4 2012 at 7:10pm #

deleted


Mick

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May 4 2012 at 7:12pm #

Leaving the scene of an accident is an offense that is lesser than drunk driving.


Pierce

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May 4 2012 at 7:15pm #

“The problem isn’t really the nuts; the problem is all the people who don’t care about the nuts’ behavior.”

Dan, I don’t think it is a matter of people not caring, I think it is a matter of people seeing these accidents as unavoidable.

Think of all the people who have been killed in the Pittsburgh region the last couple of years. What can the general person do to avoid or prevent similar accidents from happening?

99% of the time, people are okay with whatever driving they’re doing. So to get them to drive more cautiously all the time for that 1% chance of accident seems hard to accomplish


ejwme

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May 4 2012 at 7:17pm #

Mick, I believe you mean in terms of penalties inflicted by our state laws, and that has always floored me. Leaving the scene of an accident as a crime should mete out a punishment worse than the most heinous crime – thus it would be in everybody’s best interest to stick around. But I suppose that could be considered “cruel and unusual” in its disproportion.

Maybe you’re right, reddan, what bothers me isn’t the psychopathy of the actors, but the psychopathy of society’s apathy.


HiddenVariable

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May 4 2012 at 8:26pm #

99% of the time, people are okay with whatever driving they’re doing. So to get them to drive more cautiously all the time for that 1% chance of accident seems hard to accomplish

by your own math, it’s only a 1% increase in the amount of time they’re paying attention. and the difference in public health could be incredible.


Pierce

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May 4 2012 at 8:57pm #

Well, only if they could predict when they needed to pay attention for that 1%


Mick

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May 4 2012 at 8:58pm #

Probably closer to .01% than to 1%.

Still…


erok

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Jul 13 2012 at 7:48pm #

driver was sentenced:

Seven years after the loss of a beloved brother and son to a hit-and-run driver, the family of the late Sean Pearce had the bittersweet satisfaction of seeing his killer sentenced.

Gregory T. Wisneski Jr., 27, will serve one year, less a day, to two years, less a day, in the Indiana County Jail for leaving the scene of an accident when Pearce was hit by the White Township auto mechanic’s car on July 15, 2005.

Judge William Martin sentenced Wisneski to serve an additional three years on probation.

State police charged Wisneski 14 months after the crash that killed Pearce, 29, of Burrell while he was riding his bicycle along Route 119.

The charges were dismissed in December 2007 by former county Judge Gregory Olson, but were later reinstated by the state Supreme Court.

Wisneski told investigators he thought he had struck a speed bump and kept going, even after seeing the victim lying on the road in the rear-view mirror, prosecutors said.

In a victim impact statement, Pearce’s sister, Heather Kunkle, told Martin that she was filled with rage after her brother’s death and that “remembering Sean has become my job.”

Kunkle said she was happy that the judge listened to the family in crafting a sentence because Wisneski displayed no remorse.

Statements were also given by Pearce’s mother, Darla Hilliard, and another sister, Shannon Anderson.

After the sentencing, the family held a balloon loss in the victim’s honor near the crash site in Burrell.

http://triblive.com/news/2201452-74/wisneski-pearce-family-judge-county-hilliard-sean-state-anderson-indiana


Pierce

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Jul 13 2012 at 7:51pm #

Did this guy have any punishment related to what he actually did? Like driver education or loss of license?


erok

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Jul 13 2012 at 7:52pm #

i only know what’s in the article


Pierce

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Jul 13 2012 at 10:02pm #

Sorry, that was more of an indirect complaint about punitive punishments not actually helping prevent the thing from happening again in the future


Marko82

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Jul 14 2012 at 3:32pm #

Another cager pleads guilty in Philly case

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/maximum-sentence-in-bicyclists-death-644639/


Pseudacris

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Jul 14 2012 at 6:34pm #

^ wow

“Truskin had caused a three-car DUI crash on I-95 a few hours earlier but had been released without having to post bail.”

So after this, he shot up then hit a cyclist while going the wrong way on a one-way.

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