Mt. Lebanon driver get 1-2 years in jail for killing jogger

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The man who struck and killed a mother jogging with her two young children last year in Mt. Lebanon was ordered to the Allegheny County Jail this morning.

Benjamin T. Cope, 21, convicted of involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence and recklessly endangering in September, was sentenced to serve from one year less one day to two years less two days incarceration.

The odd wording of the sentence allows Mr. Cope to serve the sentence at Allegheny County Jail.

During a heart-wrenching 2-1/2 hour hearing this morning, the family members and close friends of Lisa Clay Styles explained to Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani how her loss has affected them.

Her three children are growing up without their mother.

Her sister-in-law upended her own life and marriage in Houston to move back to Pittsburgh to care for her nieces and nephew full-time.

Her husband is left to figure out how to go on with his life.

"Now I live in solitude, uncertainty and fear," Brett Styles said. "My faith is shaken. How could God have let this happen? What have I done to deserve such a loss? Lisa was my world."

Mr. Cope was driving his black Toyota 4Runner on June 28, 2010, up Beadling Road, when, prosecutors said, he failed to stop at a stop sign and struck Ms. Styles, who was jogging along Washington Road with two of her children in a stroller.

She suffered severe head injuries and died the next day.

Mr. Cope, who told a court staffer as he took the stand that he might be physically ill, apologized for his actions.

"I know there's absolutely nothing I can say to any of you to make this at all better, and I know that," he said. "I know you must carry around a lot of pain and anger, and I'm sorry ... I caused that."

Mr. Cope said he was devastated by the accident, and that it feels as though time has stopped.

"It's all still just as fresh. I think it always will be that way."


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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