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Lehigh County DA Charges Driver Involved in Crash That Killed Teacher's Aide Outside Dieruff HS | WDIY Local News

Uriel Mont

Lehigh County’s District Attorney has announced charges against a driver who fatally struck a teacher’s aide outside Dieruff High School. WDIY’s Sarit Laschinsky has more.

In a release, DA Jim Martin announced that 77-year-old Joseph Fling Jr., of Hatboro, has been charged with careless driving – unintentional death and right-of-way of pedestrians in crosswalks in the Sept. 6 crash that killed 25-year-old Angela Yowakim.

Both charges are summary offenses, and the careless driving charge carries a six-month suspension of a driver’s license upon conviction.

Martin said Fling was driving approximately 37 mph, 7 mph over the speed limit, when he struck Yowakim in the crosswalk at North Irving Street near Andre Reed Way.

Martin said that speed is not considered excessive or grossly negligent, and Yowakim’s death was ruled accidental by the Lehigh County Coroner.

Martin also said Fling was not using a cellphone at the time, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Fling’s vehicle also had the windshield wipers and headlights on due to rain, and he stayed at the scene and fully cooperated with investigators.

The crash happened at 6:42 a.m., according to the release, minutes before the activation of signs and lights designating a school zone with a 15-mph speed limit.

Martin said Yowakim did not appear to see Fling’s van, and that video suggests he was keeping up with the traffic flow.

However, Martin also said there was probable cause to believe Fling should have been able to see Yowakim and should have been able to stop.

Martin also criticized a press conference held the day after the crash, attended by Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk, police chief Charles Roca, then-district superintendent Dr. John Stanford.

Martin said the crash had not yet been reconstructed, and that unanswered media questions helped fuel public speculation about the circumstances of the accident that turned out to be untrue.

“This instance represents a sound reason for not holding a press conference before all the facts have been determined,” he wrote in the release.

“This was a tragic accident resulting in the death of a popular, vibrant and much-loved young woman. We in law enforcement express our sincere sympathies to her family and friends.

However, although certainly tragic, the facts obtained by this investigation, including reconstruction of the crash, support only the charges which have been filed.”

(Original air-date: 11/2/22)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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