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Police: Man charged after fatally striking bicyclist in York City

Murphy Franklin Jr.

A York City man is charged more than a year after he fatally struck a bicyclist on the rail trail, according to police.

Murphy Franklin Jr., 48, is charged with homicide by vehicle after police said he had a seizure and blacked out before hitting Christopher Kress, 45, on June 28, 2018.

York City Police announced Franklin's charges in a news release Monday, Oct. 21.

Police said Franklin had been involved in serious crashes over the past few years. He had admitted to not taking his seizure medication during some of those crashes, according to the release.

Franklin, of the 200 block of Jefferson Avenue, remains free on $50,000 unsecured bail, meaning he could forfeit up to that amount should he miss court proceedings.

A number could not be found for Franklin, and he did not have an attorney listed as of Monday afternoon.

Allegations: Charging documents state Franklin was driving a dark silver 2003 Chevrolet Impala north in the 500 block of Jessop Place but did not stop at a stop sign and went through an intersection before leaving the road about 4:50 p.m. that day.

The car went over a curb and sidewalk, crossed a patch of grass and hit Kress, police said.

Kress, who was riding on the Heritage Rail Trail, was thrown down an embankment, court documents state. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Franklin, who has a history of seizures, told authorities that he woke up that morning with a headache and did not think much of it, according to police.

He took his medication and left the home, and the next thing he remembered was waking up in an ambulance after the crash, court documents allege.

He claimed he had a seizure and blacked out before hitting Kress, police said.

Officer Derek Hartman, the department's spokesman, said Franklin is being charged in the case because he should have known something might have happened if he drove because of past incidents.

It was the fourth crash Franklin was involved in since 2011, according to charging documents.

York City Police investigate the scene where a bicyclist was struck and killed in the vicinity of Kings Mill Road and Jessop Place in York City, Thursday, June 28, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

2011 crash: Franklin caused a crash on July 7, 2011, that injured several people, according to court documents filed by Northern York County Regional Police.

It happened about 7 a.m. on North George Street near the intersection of Masonic Drive in Manchester Township, police said at the time.

Franklin was driving south on George Street at a high rate of speed when he struck three mailboxes near the Hayshire Drive intersection and went around a southbound Rabbit Transit bus, court documents state.

More:Driver in fatal York City bicycle crash had seizure in 2011 accident

Franklin's car struck trash cans and recycling bins in the 2300 block of North George Street, then crashed into one southbound vehicle, pushed a second into a guard rail and finally struck a car that was stopped for a red light at the Masonic Drive intersection, Northern Regional Police said.

Franklin's car  went off the road and over an embankment then flipped over near the Comfort Inn, police said.

One driver suffered a concussion, fractured vertebrae, a fractured sternum and bruising to her face, police said. Two other drivers suffered injuries, as did Franklin, according to court documents.

Franklin told police he had left work because of a migraine then blacked out while driving, documents state.

Charges for the crash were filed against Franklin in December 2013, and a jury acquitted him of all charges in January 2015, court records state.

His attorney who represented him in that case told The York Dispatch that Franklin had a seizure while driving.

York City Police said Franklin crashed his car in April 2012 and May 2014, and in both incidents he admitted that he had stopped taking his seizure medication.

Police did not say where those two crashes happened. 

Murphy's preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 14 at District Judge Ronald Haskell Jr.'s office.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.