Retired county police officer sent to jail after fatal hit-and-run

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A judge today ordered a retired Allegheny County police officer sent to jail after he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene after striking a pedestrian and killing her in McKeesport last year.

Common Pleas Judge Joseph K. Williams III rejected a defense lawyer's request that Timothy Tatters, 65, of White Oak, remain free on bond pending his scheduled sentencing June 2. "Take him away," Judge Williams said, visibly upset that Mr. Tatters had not stopped after the crash or turned himself in later. Mr. Tatters was taken from the courtroom in handcuffs.

Mr. Tatters was driving home from the Corral Club bar at about 4:45 a.m. on Jan. 16, 2013, when he struck Lorraine Wilkes, 56, at Lysle Boulevard and Huey Street. She died later at UPMC Mercy.

Police used pieces of wreckage from Mr. Tatters' Jeep Cherokee and a tip from a neighbor to track him down and he confessed to hitting the victim, but said at the time of the collision he thought he had struck a dog. When he got home, he told police, the severity of damage to his vehicle led him to believe he had hit a deer instead, according to a criminal complaint.

By the time police arrived to arrest him, Mr. Tatters had seen news reports about the fatality, and told officers he knew they would be coming, the complaint said.

The complaint said Mr. Tatters told police he was at the bar for approximately 11 hours and had consumed three 16-ounce beers. He pleaded guilty to one count of accidents involving death or personal injury, a felony, and careless driving, a summary offense.

County police said he retired from the force in 1993.


Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868.

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