Trucker in driver’s ed triple fatality is sentenced

Lawyer says August Harlacher has been suffering with PTSD and depression since the 2015 accident


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  • The intersection of County Route 1A and County Route 41 (Union Corners Road and Blooms Corners Road) in Warwick, N.Y., was reconstructed in 2016 (pictured) to make it safer (File photo by Kyle Hancharick)



"This is the most serious event this court has handled."
Judge Peter Barlet


By Linda Smith Hancharick

— August Harlacher of Shohola, Pa., the tractor-trailer driver involved in the horrific crash that took the lives of three Goshen High School driver’s education students, was ordered to pay fines, and will lose his driver’s license for a year, as a result of his sentencing Tuesday night in Warwick Town Court in Warwick, N.Y.

Harlacher, 64, was not present in court for the sentencing by Judge Peter Barlet. His attorney, Glenn Magnell, represented him.

Magnell told the judge that his client has been suffering severely with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression since the accident on July 15, 2015. That, along with his poor health and physical condition, are what kept him from attending the sentencing hearing.

Harlacher will pay the maximum fines allowed for the three traffic violations of which he was found guilty:

$300 for going 58 miles per hour in a 45-mile-per-hour zone

$150 for two other speeding violations

$93 surcharge for each violation

In total, he owes the court $879.

In addition, Harlacher’s license was revoked for a year, and he must continue to undergo outpatient therapy. He is on conditional discharge for a year, meaning he must not violate the law and continue to attend his therapy sessions during that time.

Magnell said Harlacher has already given up his commercial driver's licence and hasn’t worked since the accident. He argued that paying the maximum fines could be a hardship for Harlacher. Barlet disagreed, noting that the maximum fines in New York are not onerous. He also said the maximum was warranted.

"This is the most serious event this court has handled," Barlet said.

Senior Assistant District Attorney David Byrne had also requested that Harlacher perform community service. But Harlacher’s attorney said his diminished physical capabilities would make that difficult.

On July 14, 2015, four Goshen students headed out for a summer session of driver’s education. Antonio Baglivo, Paul VanDoran, and Lucas O’Connor, all 16, were killed as a result of the accident at the intersection of County Route 1A and County Route 41 in the Edenville section of Warwick. All three were in the backseat of a Decat Driving School car.

Harlacher and the drivers’ education instructor, Julio Anglero, escaped unharmed from the accident. The driver of the car, Claudia Krebs, was released from the hospital the following day. Police issued tickets to Anglero and Krebs for failure to yield the right of way.

Shortly after the crash, the county redesigned the intersection. It was widened, with turning lanes and a traffic light added. Previously, it had only a yellow and red blinking light.

A two-day trial in September 2017 ended with Harlacher being found guilty of the traffic violations, according to Byrne, who prosecuted the case. He was found guilty of speed not reasonable or prudent, speeding 58 in a 45 mph zone, and failure to reduce speed.

Related stories"Students' deaths shake community": https://bit.ly/2K6DcOd

"Tickets issued to drivers and instructor involved in 2015 fatal Warwick crash": https://bit.ly/2I4pO8h





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