Elizabeth man pleads guilty to causing fatal accident

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An Elizabeth man pleaded guilty this morning to causing an accident that killed a Versailles man three years ago.

Seth Denne, 24, will be sentenced on the felony count on July 31 before Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman.

According to assistant district attorney Jonathan Fodi, Mr. Denne was driving on Eden Park Boulevard in McKeesport about 2:45 a.m. on April 1, 2011, when he struck Bruce Babyak, 27, who was walking in the road.

Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey said Babyak was wearing all dark clothing and had a blood alcohol level of .24. He died of blunt force trauma.

Mr. Denne, who told police he had been out that night and drank two beers and a scotch, went home after the accident and told his mother he struck a deer, but the next morning, Mr. Fodi said, they found a sweatshirt on his minivan where the damage occurred. He contacted Mr. Thomassey and turned himself in.

According to video surveillance from the scene, Mr. Denne's vehicle is seen striking Mr. Babyak, and then travels out of the camera frame. However, the vehicle turned around and drove back through the area slowly, before speeding off again, Mr. Fodi said.

Even so, Mr. Thomassey said, "This truly was an accident, your honor.

"Mr. Denne's mistake here was not stopping. This was, plain and simple, an accident."

As part of the plea agreement, the district attorney's office withdrew all other charges against Mr. Denne, including homicide by vehicle.

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard.

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