The New Castle woman charged with crashing into a police cruiser while fleeing from officers, killing a 60-year-old Shenango Township officer, had been caught driving without a license four times in the last 13 months, including once last month.
Kylee Barletto, 25, is being guarded by Youngstown police while being treated for non-life threatening injuries, including facial lacerations and head injuries, at St. Elizabeth Health Center that she suffered during the late Thursday crash near New Castle’s Cascade Park. Authorities are waiting until she is released to extradite her from Youngstown back to Lawrence County.
Investigators said her blood toxicology is being analyzed.
A friend of Barletto’s said she and Barletto were talking on the phone at the time of the crash.
Barletto is facing charges including two counts of first-degree felony aggravated assault, second-degree felony manslaughter of a law enforcement officer, third-degree fleeing to elude an officer, third-degree felony causing an accident involving a death and misdemeanor charges of involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person and simple assault.
She was also charged with driving without a license, her fifth citation for doing so since March 2012. She was also charged with running past four stop signs during the chase, records show.
The charges carry a maximum 71 years in prison.
The crash killed part-time officer Jerry McCarthy IV. The officer in the driver’s seat of McCarthy’s car, Michael Lynch, 35, suffered serious injuries, police said.
Barletto told investigators she “did something stupid” and never stopped because she had a suspended license, according to the criminal complaint. She also told investigators something was wrong with her car and was unable to stop.
A friend of Barletto’s, Becky George, of New Castle, who described herself as a mother-figure to Barletto, said she was on the phone with Barletto when the crash occurred. George said there were no sirens in the background and Barletto never acted like she was involved in a high-speed chase with police during the conversation.
“It wasn’t like they said it was,” George said. “Nothing was like they said it was and that has me very upset.”
George said Barletto works at New Castle Country Club and left work at 9 p.m. Thursday, an hour before the crash. George said Barletto was talking to another person shortly before she called her.
George described her as “dramatic” at times, but she had no urgency in her voice during their conversation.
“She’s a hard worker,” George said. “She works two jobs to pay her bills. She’s not a horrible person like they’re trying to make her out to be.”
A search of Pennsylvania court records shows police cited Barletto for eight driving violations since 2008, including four citations for driving without a license since March 2012.
In 2008, she was cited for driving with headphones on. The next year she was caught driving without financial responsibility and without a valid license. In 2011, she was cited for failing to stop at a stop sign.
Officers in 2012 cited her in March, May and October. She was last cited for driving without a license on April 5.
“She does have a lead foot,” George said. “I can’t say she doesn’t. I’ve ridden with her, but it’s a horrible accident. It’s not something where she was running from the cops.”