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January 13, 2014

Salix man sentenced in motorcyclist’s death

EBENSBURG — A Salix man who admitted to being behind the wheel and striking and killing a motorcyclist more than two years ago was given a sentence Monday of six to 48 months, with three of those months in the Cambria County Prison.

The second three months of the sentence for Todd Mummert will be on house arrest with alcohol monitoring with the remaining 42 months probation.

Mummert, 47, had little to say following a half-hour of victim impact statements offered by the mother, sister, wife and son of victim Bryon McDermott, 47, of Richland Township.

Monday would have marked McDermott’s 49th birthday.

In a short, barely audible statement, Mummert told the court: “I’m very sorry for the pain caused to the family...”

Richland Township police said that Mummert’s blood-alcohol level was 0.201 percent when his 2008 Mercury Sable ran a red light and collided with a 2008 Yamaha motorcycle driven by McDermott.

The crash happened just after midnight on July 23, 2011, at the intersection of Route 219 and Elton Road.

McDermott, who was wearing a helmet at the time, was taken to Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, where he died the same day of multiple traumatic injuries.

Mummert, of the 100 block of Baumgardner Road, Salix, was not arrested until early March 2012, when he was charged with involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol, public drunkenness, careless driving that caused unintentional death and a number of vehicle and equipment violations.

As part of the sentence handed down by Cambria County President Judge Timothy Creany, Mummert was fined $1,600 plus court and related costs and ordered to make restitution totaling about $10,000.

He also must perform 100 hours of  community service, with Creany urging that it be with an emergency services provider or by speaking to the public, telling his story.

Mummert also will lose his driver’s license for 12 months, Creany said.

Four members of McDermott’s family gave emotional statements on the the impact the victim’s death has had on them, including his son, Bobby McDermott, who said he and his dad were preparing to move to Maryland so he, the young McDermott, could attend college.

“I had to grow up at age 20,” the son said. “It’s been going on three years now and I’ve not been able to enjoy my life.”

All of the family members providing statements urged Creany to sentence Mummert to the maximum allowed by law.

Last month, Mummert pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence.

Defense attorney David Weaver said questions remain over the crash, largely because of diminished sight distance problems at the intersection and the weight of the light motorcycle McDermott was on at the time.

An accident reconstructionist hired by the defense raised concerns about the sensors controlling the signal lights and other issues, Weaver told the court.

Cambria  County First Assistant District Attorney Heath Long said a reconstructionist and the Richland Township Police Department came to a different conclusion.

Because of these differing expert opinions, Creany said, he was compelled to impose a sentence on the lower side of the state’s sentencing guidelines.

Kathy Mellott covers the Cambria County courthouse for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/kmellotttd.

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