DuBOIS — A 34-year-old Johnsonburg woman who was involved in a fatal multi-vehicle crash earlier this month faces a number of charges including felony counts of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence of a controlled substance, homicide by vehicle, and a misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday at District Judge Patrick Ford’s office in DuBois.
On March 27, state police in DuBois charged Shara Marie Franco with the listed charges in addition to five felony counts each of aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, and aggravated assault by vehicle, one misdemeanor count of DUI (controlled substance), five misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person, five summary counts of reckless driving, three summary counts of careless driving causing serious bodily injury, six summary counts of careless driving, and one summary count each of failure to carry registration, failure to carry a license, obedience to traffic control devices and driving over a divider.
Franco’s preliminary arraignment was held Sunday before District Judge James Glass. She was placed in the Clearfield County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday at Ford’s office.
The March 7th crash claimed the life of Ryan V. Muirhead, 43, DuBois, who was the driver of a 2010 Toyota RAV4. All three of his passengers sustained serious injuries. The passengers included Tammy L. Llewellyn, 40, DuBois, who was taken by helicopter to Altoona Hospital; David L. Barnacastle, 42, Brookville, who was taken by helicopter to Allegheny General Hospital; and a 6-year-old female passenger who was flown by helicopter to Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the police responded to the crash at 3:20 p.m. at mile marker 99.4 of I-80 eastbound for the report of a three-vehicle crash. It was reported that a Silverado was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes. It was reported that the Silverado hit a tractor-trailer being driven by Richard L. Hughes, 62, Greenville, and then the Muirhead vehicle before stopping in the middle of the eastbound lanes of travel.
Upon arrival at the scene, police found a gray 2015 Silverado in the middle of the road. As the police approached the vehicle, Franco was reportedly still in the driver’s seat of the vehicle.
A witness at the scene, Abe W. Wildman, 30, told the police that Franco was traveling in the wrong direction, the affidavit said. The witness said he saw the Franco vehicle strike the two other vehicles.
The affidavit said Franco sustained injuries from the crash and could not be interviewed at the scene. Franco reportedly told the police she was not the one driving the truck and that she was at a bus stop in Pittsburgh. When asked where she was, Franco reportedly said she was in the back of an ambulance. Upon asking her where the ambulance was, she stated in Pittsburgh.
The affidavit said the Hughes’ tractor-trailer was nearly struck head-on by Franco’s vehicle and that would have caused serious life-threatening injuries.
Muirhead was pronounced dead at the scene by Clearfield County Coroner Kim Shaffer Snyder, the affidavit said. The other three occupants in his vehicle sustained life-altering injuries as a result of the crash, the affidavit said. Llewellyn suffered numerous internal injuries as well as a broken back and arm. Barnacastle was placed in a medically-induced coma due to his injuries. The child suffered two broken legs, a broken pelvis along with a severe facial laceration.
On March 27, the toxicology report showed positive findings of methamphetamines and fentanyl in Franco’s system — Amphetamine (32 ng/mL), Methamphetamine (94 ng/mL), Fentanyl (1.6 ng/mL) and Norfentanyl (0.42 ng/mL).