The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 3, 2012

Conemaugh Twp. driver sentenced in fatal crash

SOMERSET — A Conemaugh Township man was sentenced Wednesday to nine months to 23 months in the Somerset County Jail for the DUI crash that killed a motorcyclist two years ago.

Robert James Hauser, 64, of Stuver Drive, was sentenced in Somerset County Court before President Judge John M. Cascio.

“This is truly tragic,” Cascio said. “This is one of those things that shouldn’t happen to anybody.”

Township police said Hauser was driving a 1995 Jeep Cherokee on Somerset Pike when he made a left-hand turn into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.

Edward Helsel III, 38, of Johnstown, was riding a 1996 Kawasaki when it struck the side of the Jeep. Helsel died in the crash. Hauser was not injured.

Hauser pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and DUI-second offense. His blood alcohol was 0.16 percent at the time.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that young man and his family,” Hauser said. “I’m truly sorry.”

Helsel’s family members wore memorial T-shirts bearing his photograph. Some brushed away tears as the judge imposed the sentence.

Edward Helsel Sr. said his son had just bought the motorcycle and was taking it for a test drive. As he left the courtroom, he expressed displeasure with the sentence.

“He took my son’s life away from me,” he said. “He took half my heart.

“I had two sons,” Helsel said. “I’ve got one now. What hurts so bad is that he’s (Hauser) been caught for DUI before. That’s wrong. I’m not happy with it.”

“It’s tragic,” District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser said. “You can’t bring his son back no matter what the sentence is.”

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