Guilty plea averts trial in death of Red Lion student
A Chanceford Township man who caused a crash that killed his friend pleaded guilty Tuesday to reckless endangerment, but his case will remain open for nearly a year.
Fabian Wilbur Posey, 22, of New Bridgeville Road, was supposed to go on trial Tuesday for involuntary manslaughter in the death of 17-year-old Shawn Michael Daugherty. Instead, Posey entered his guilty plea.
Presiding Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook deferred sentencing until Jan. 5, 2017, court records state.
Defense attorney Farley Holt said that's because his client has a chance to avoid sentencing altogether.
According to Holt, Posey was ordered to abide by a number of court conditions and, if he succeeds, he will be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea next January and both misdemeanor charges — involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment — will be dismissed.
"We're hopeful he's going to do everything (required)," Holt said. "I think it's a good resolution. ... It's a chance for everybody to heal."
Posey's court-ordered requirements include completing 75 hours of community service, with him going to schools to talk about responsible driving; observing one victim-impact class, then leading a second class; paying court costs; complying with his supervised bail; and "keeping his nose clean," according to Holt.
Apologized in court: Posey and Shawn were best friends, the attorney said.
"Fabian Posey finally got a chance to apologize to Shawn's family, which he's been wanting to do (since the crash)," Holt said. "He broke down and cried. It's been really, really hard on him. It's been eating him up."
Shawn, who lived on Collinsville Road in Chanceford Township, was killed June 11, 2012, when he was partially thrown from a Ford Ranger pickup truck and pinned underneath it, according to state police, who said Posey was 18 at the time and driving the truck.
It happened on Kauffman Lane, a private farm lane just off Collinsville Road, police have said.
Shawn had just completed his junior year at Red Lion Area High School and was a member of the class of 2013, a school district official said at the time.
Farm errand: Holt said the teens were on an errand and were driving from one farm to another.
"They were going to get an extension cord ... so they could plug in a hay-bale conveyor," the attorney said.
Shawn's cellphone recorded the moments before the crash and shows Posey shifting gears and accelerating, according to charging documents.
"I think it was an unfortunate, tragic accident," Holt said. "I don't think it was a crime."
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com.