The driver of a semi truck who authorities said caused a fatal crash on Wednesday in Wolf Creek Township is facing charges that he tried to cover up his truck’s malfunction.
Wilfredo Suarez, 53, of Clifton, N.J., was arraigned last week on charges that tampered with evidence following the crash on Interstate 80 that killed Michael K. Holder, 55, of Lansing, Mich.
Suarez is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next Wednesday on charges of tampering with physical evidence, scattering rubbish, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving too slow for conditions, reckless driving, operating a vehicle with unsafe equipment and violating hazard waste regulation.
Holder’s 1993 Mercury Villager slammed into the back of Suarez’s semi truck that had no working taillights and was driving slowly because of three blown-out tires.
Holder was pronounced dead about one hour later at Grove City Hospital, according to a Pennsylvania State Police report.
PSP troopers said Suarez’s semi truck, which was carrying a load of grape juice, was heading westbound on I-80 when the tires blew out, causing the trailer’s taillights to malfunction.
The truck driver continued on to the I-79 interchange where he turned around to head back to Barkeyville. Troopers said the semi was travelling about 15 miles per hour when Holder’s van smashed into the trailer.
His car ended up in the on-coming traffic lanes about 150 yards from where the initial crash occurred.