Man accused of student’s death bound over for trial

BY VIRGINIA CODY

A 58-year-old Meshoppen man accused of vehicular homicide in the death of an Elk Lake ninth grader was bound over Monday for trial in the Wyoming County Court of Common Pleas.

Kenneth R. Kramer Jr., of RR#4 Allen St., Meshoppen, is accused of the involuntary manslaughter of 14-year-old Michael Zajaczkowski who died a week after his bicycle was hit by Kramer’s 1988 Ford Ranger.

Kramer, who alleges he had driven onto the berm in order to make a right hand turn on to Allen Street, claimed he did not see Zajaczkowski because the boy was wearing dark clothes.

That allegation was refuted by witnesses at the scene who said that Zazaczkowski had been wearing a bright orange hunting jacket.

Deborah Albert-Heise, who represented Kramer before Magisterial District Judge John Hovan Monday afternoon, argued vehemently that the state had not made its prima-facie case because Kramer had not acted recklessly.

“Recklessness is required.  To sustain a conviction, it has to be a violation that shows disregard to human life or indifference to the consequences of his action,” Albert-Heise stated.  “How could he disregard human life if he didn’t know someone was there?”

Wyoming County District Attorney Jeff Mitchell countered that witnesses had seen the defendant riding on the berm along the lane of travel, that Kramer had moved onto the berm between 400 and 500 feet before the intersection of Allen Street, and that the boy had been wearing a bright orange jacket.

“No one is alleging this person did this intentionally,” he said. “But I fail to see how these circumstances can be ignored.”

Kramer remains free on $15,000 unsecured bail.

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