Woman accused in fatal DUI hit-and-run worked for DA's office
A Penn Township woman accused of fatally running over a man in Hanover last year worked for the York County District Attorney's Office for a few months while the investigation was going on.
York County spokesman Mark Walters said Vanessa Harris, 31, worked at the DA's office from June 11 until Sept. 27 as a "unit secretary," and her separation was voluntary.
The DA's office website states that people in her position generate paperwork necessary to a "successful prosecution."
Harris, of the 100 block of Fair Avenue, remains charged with accidents involving death or personal injury and DUI in the death of Zackery Rodkey.
Officials have said Rodkey was fatally struck the morning of Jan. 7, 2018. Charges were filed in early December, more than two months after Harris left the DA's office.
Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 25, at District Judge Dwayne Dubs' office.
Messages left for her attorney seeking comment Tuesday and Wednesday were not immediately returned.
Worked there: Chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker, who is handling Harris' case, said Tuesday night that he did not know Harris worked at the DA's office until after the charges were filed.
"Hanover Borough Police Department had no idea as well," Barker said. "None of us did."
He said Harris' past employment will not affect the investigation. Harris, who worked juvenile cases, was not employed there when the investigation began, and was not an employee when charges were filed, according to Barker.
"Nothing's impacted anything with the investigation," he said.
He said he rarely interacts with those who handle juvenile cases, and he said Harris would not have had access to the case files, which he keeps in his office. He said the files were only accessible to certain people.
Those files also don't have specific names, he said, adding that the filings focus on what has been done and not who was involved.
Barker handles vehicle fatality cases for the DA's office. He will be prosecuting Harris' case with senior deputy prosecutor Sarah Buhite.
When asked for comment, DA's office spokesman Kyle King said he could not because the case is an ongoing criminal investigation, pending criminal prosecution and an employee matter.
Hanover Police Chief Chad Martin said in an email Tuesday that he could not comment on the investigation because it was still active. He said he had no knowledge of where Harris may or may not have worked during the time of the investigation.
Charges: Charging documents filed by Detective Jared Auman state that Rodkey was walking southeast on the west sidewalk of North Railroad Street at 2:10 a.m. Jan. 7, 2018.
He fell onto the road and was struck about 30 seconds later by a gray Honda Odyssey, which police said was driven by Harris.
The vehicle was heading southwest on North Railroad Street, then continued onto York Street, according to police.
Another vehicle showed up about two minutes later, and the driver avoided Rodkey before getting out and calling 911, court documents state.
The York County Coroner's Office pronounced Rodkey dead at 3:15 a.m. His cause of death was multiple blunt-force head trauma.
Video surveillance from businesses in the area showed a vehicle matching the Odyssey's description on Jan. 12, 2018, and it belonged to Harris, court documents state.
Police spoke to her, and she said she had gone to two bars on Jan. 6, according to police, who said she left the bars during the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2018.
Harris admitted to drinking more than usual that night, and she also said she was the only one driving her vehicle at the time, court documents state. She did not remember the exact route she took, officials said.
Harris allowed police to process her vehicle, and detectives swabbed a substance found on the bumper of the car, police said. The substance was sent to a state police lab, and on Sept. 24 it was found to match Rodkey's DNA, officials said.
Harris remains free on $10,000 unsecured bail.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.