The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 11, 2012

Money OK’d for defense experts

Kathy Mellott

EBENSBURG — A Cambria County judge ordered that $2,500 will be made available to a Northern Cambria man charged with vehicular  homicide in the traffic deaths of an Alverda couple, money needed for experts to aid in the upcoming trial of Michael Sherwood.

Judge Norman Krumenacker fell short of granting another series of requests made by Sherwood through his attorney, Thomas Dickey, who is asking that three statements Sherwood made to police and evidence from five search warrants not be allowed in his upcoming trial.

Sherwood, 41, of the 100 block of Melrose Place, is charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence of an intoxicant and vehicular homicide with gross negligence by careless and reckless driving in the Sept. 3, 2010, deaths of Lois May Davis, 69, and her husband,  Richard T. Davis, 76.

The crash occurred on Route 271, known locally as Nicktown Hill, in Northern Cambria.

Police said Sherwood’s truck crossed the center lane and hit the Davis car head on. Lois Davis was pronounced dead at the scene, while her husband died two weeks later at Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown.

Authorities allege that Sherwood, on the day of the crash, had received a methadone treatment at Alliance Medical Center in Richland Township three hours before the 11 a.m. crash.

On Thursday, Krumenacker set jury selection in Sherwood’s case for Feb. 7. The trial is to begin the next day. It is expected to take four days.

Krumenacker will hold a hearing on the suppression issues on Nov. 6 when testimony will be presented on Dickey’s request to suppress from the upcoming trial statements made by Sherwood to state and Northern Cambria police on Sept. 3 and 4 and Oct. 10, 2010.

Dickey argued that Sherwood was medicated and affected by the injuries received in the vehicle crash and unable to understand what was going on during the first two interviews. Adding to his client’s medical problems is his type 2 diabetes, a condition that influenced his mental condition, Dickey argues.

Sherwood continued to be medicated at the time of the Oct. 20 police interview and was not thinking clearly, Dickey said in his pretrial motion.

Dickey also is asking the court to suppress search warrants of Sherwood’s truck; his blood test results; his general medical records; records from Alliance Medical Center; and records from Hastings Area Ambulance service.

Krumenacker agreed to allow Dickey to hire an investigator, an accident reconstruction expert and experts in the fields of toxicology, pharmacology and physiology.

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