Five face charges in 2010 fatalities

BY STACI WILSON

Police say people who were with two teens prior to the accident that claimed their lives in August 2010 withheld information during the investigation.

Now at least five people are facing charges, including the mother of one of the teens killed.

On Aug. 4, 2010, Alex Hinkley and Brett Sterling were killed in a crash on Old Lackawanna Trail, Great Bend Twp.

According to the police affidavit, Hinkley and Sterling had both consumed alcohol prior to the crash. Hinkley’s blood alcohol content was .177% and Sterling’s BAC was .025%.

Police say the investigation revealed the two 18-year-olds were at Sterling’s mother, Michelle Shepard’s residence on Airport Rd., Hallstead, for several hours before the crash and it was there they consumed alcohol.

According to the affidavit, three other minors were also drinking at the home. Police said Shepard, 37, Justin Froehlich, 23, Montrose, and Courtney Sterling, 18, Hallstead, furnished the alcohol.

Police also said, in the affidavit, that Shepherd, Froehlich, Courtney Sterling, David Calla, 19, Hallstead,  and Brina Swackhamer-Newman, 21, Montrose, were interviewed by police multiple times.

In the interviews, according to police, they all said that they did not see anyone drinking alcohol that night.

Shephard has been charged with five counts of hindering prosecution – providing false information; five counts of furnishing alcohol to minors; and one count of unsworn falsification to authorities.

Froehlich and Courtney Sterling also face hindering prosecution and furnishing alcohol to minors charges.

Calla was charged with unsworn falsification to authorities and hindering prosecution.

Swackhamer-Newman was charged with hindering prosecution.

Preliminary hearings for all charged have been scheduled for July 18 in New Milford District Court.