by Jonathan Weaver
A Pittsburgh man has been arrested and charged with a fatal crash that occurred in Sugarcreek Township last month.
Yesterday afternoon, District Magisterial Judge James Owen in Kittanning arraigned Michael Barnett, 55, on 10 charges that resulted in the death of 53-year-old John McCoy, Sr. – also of Pittsburgh.
Barnett, who is currently incarcerated in the Armstrong County Jail on $35,000 bond, is charged with second-degree felony homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and nearly a half-dozen misdemeanor offenses – including involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence and possession of marijuana.
County District Attorney Scott Andreassi explained how that was determined.
“Whenever a search warrant was served on the hospital where he was being treated, we obtained a blood sample that showed the presence of both marijuana and alcohol,” Andressi said.
Barnett was flown by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital and was in stable condition after suffering moderate injuries.
Identified by Pennsylvania State Police troopers as the driver of the vehicle, Barnett also is charged with four summary driving violations in the January 7 incident along State Route 268 near Sugarcreek Elementary School.
The felony homicide charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of three years incarceration, Andreassi added.
“Based on the evidence obtained by the Pennsylvania State Police, we will be seeking the mandatory sentence in this case. The death of Mr. McCoy was a tragic accident caused by the actions of Barnett.”
McCoy was fatally injured when the 2010 Lincoln MKZ he was a passenger in left the road way and impacted a tree about 11:02AM. County Coroner Brian Myers said McCoy died at ACMH Hospital in East Franklin Township due to blunt force trauma to the head and thorax.
Andreassi praised Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Thomas Karlo – who patrols the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Gibsonia (Allegheny County) –as well as other state troopers and an accident reconstruction specialist for a “very thorough investigation.”
“We made (this investigation) a priority especially given the fact that we had a deceased individual that we believed when we first started investigating that death was caused by Mr. Barnett,” Andreassi said.
Evidence showed that both men appeared to be friends.
Toxicology results showed McCoy had alcohol, cocaine and marijuana in his system at the time of his death, Myers said.
Barnett will next be in court February 15 for a preliminary hearing.