Monroeville driver pleads guilty in fatal crash

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A driver accused of fatally striking a motorcyclist last year in Monroeville pleaded guilty to the charges Wednesday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

Fremont Mathias Jr., 33, of Monroeville will remain on house arrest until his sentencing on June 5, the same day his wife, charged with hindering apprehension in the case, is scheduled to stand trial.

He pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle, causing an accident involving injury or death, driving on a suspended license and other crimes before Common Pleas Judge Philip Ignelzi and is likely to receive the mandatory one to two years in prison.

County police said Mr. Mathias asked his mother, Julie, and wife, Heather, to take the blame for the June 30, 2013, crash that killed Lawrence Matvey, 69, of Monroeville.

Heather Mathias, 32, was charged with hindering apprehension, a felony, and related crimes after county police said she called 911 and said she was responsible for the crash.

Police wrote in a criminal complaint that Mr. Mathias was driving a Ford F-150 pickup on Hochberg Road when he crossed into oncoming traffic shortly before 9 a.m. and collided head-on with a Harley-Davidson driven by Matvey.

Assistant district attorney Chelsie Pratt, recounting details of the case Wednesday, said Mr. Mathias told passers-by that he stumbled upon the crash while searching for his dog that got loose and left the scene saying he needed to find the pet.

The passers-by, including a nurse, helped Matvey, but he died at Forbes Regional Hospital soon after the crash. His obituary said he was a retired U.S. Steel employee and former PA Ride Captain for the Patriot Guard.

Mr. Mathias went home and asked his mother to take the blame for the crash because "she had a clean driving record and he did not want to get in trouble," but Heather Mathias called 911 instead, police wrote in a criminal complaint.

Matvey's family, including his wife and brother, declined comment after the hearing.

Both Fremont and Heather Mathias, whose children attended the proceeding, also declined comment.

Mr. Mathias also pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor gun violation in a separate case, in which Turtle Creek police discovered an unloaded gun, for which he did not have a valid license, in the vehicle during a traffic stop, prosecutors said.


Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944. First Published March 19, 2014 12:52 PM


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