Homicide by vehicle suspect questions evidence

By Randy Bartley

Staff Writer

CLARION

Clarion County Judge James Arner heard an omnibus pre-trial motion Monday filed on behalf of a Mercer County man accused of homicide by vehicle in Clarion County.

Joseph Michael Flynn, 24, of Clark, in Mercer County, is facing the homicide by vehicle charge in connection with a crash April 14, 2018, along Miola Road in Highland Township, that claimed the lives of two men.

A criminal complaint identifies Flynn as the driver in the crash, and the two men who died were passengers in Flynn's truck. They were identified as Mark Matthew Marcucci, 29, of West Middlesex, and Kevin Yarabinec, 23, of Sharpsville.

Flynn's attorney, Blair Hindman, argued Monday that DNA evidence recovered from the vehicle shows Flynn may not have been driving at the time of the crash.

Hindman said DNA taken from blood samples collected from the driver's side of the vehicle didn't match Flynn's DNA.

Clarion County Assistant District Attorney Drew Welsh said the "DNA didn't shift the burden."

"If it goes to trial, we will let the jury decide," said Welsh.

Hindman also challenged the legality of a search warrant that allowed police to gain access to Flynn's medical records at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Welsh cited numerous cases related to that motion.

Welsh called two witnesses to support his assertion Flynn was driving the Dodge Ram pick-up truck when it struck a tree on Toby Hill.

Cody Alan Hughes, the only other survivor of the crash, said he recalled leaving a Clarion bar and getting into the truck. He said Flynn was driving and he was a rear seat passenger.

Hindman challenged Hughes' memories. Hughes, who suffered a broken neck and broken ankle in the crash, said he couldn't remember many of the evening's events.

Paramedic Mona Weaver testified she was treating Flynn for a cut on his cheek and he told her he didn't want to go to jail and that he had been drinking that evening. Weaver said Flynn also told her he was the driver.

Arner said he will "review the evidence and return with my decision as soon as possible."

Welsh said he anticipated a ruling in three to four weeks.