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Kingsley Man Arrested for Crash That Killed Six-Month-Old Baby

Seven months after a crash in Susquehanna County killed a six-month-old baby, state police have filed charges in the case.
Seven months after a crash in Susquehanna County killed a six-month-old baby, state police have filed charges in the case.

Zachary LaRue of Kingsley was charged Tuesday morning with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and careless driving.

State police say LaRue was speeding, going an estimated 71 miles-an-hour in an area posted at 55 miles-an-hour when he allegedly caused a three car crash.

The baby who died was a passenger in the first car that was hit.

Zachary was led into a magistrate's office in handcuffs just before 9:00 AM in Montrose.

"Every loss is terrible but to lose something so precious as a little child, I think that goes without saying," Susquehanna County District Attorney Jason Legg said.

Six-month-old Lainey Johnson died three days after the wreck at a hospital near Danville.

A memorial now sits in her honor on Route 92 in Lenox Township. That is where troopers say LaRue's truck went speeding around a curve and hit the car Lainey and her mother were in.

LaRue's attorney plans to challenge those speed calculations.

He says the crash was an accident, indicating the roads were improperly kept.

"The condition of the roadway was awful. As a matter of fact, they've repaired it since this accident," defense attorney Paul Ackourey said. "There was a tremendous gulley on the shoulder of the road. My client's vehicle got stuck in the shoulder and lost control."

When the deadly crash happened, prosecutors say LaRue was already on probation for a DUI offense in Wyoming County from 2012.

Investigators say a cashier at a Shell Gas Station about a mile away from the crash scene said LaRue and his passenger were acting "spacey and incoherent" right before the wreck and "burned out" leaving the parking lot.

"This took a little longer than we wanted it to take but we wanted to be complete in the investigation and make sure that we had turned over every stone," Legg said.

With the death of a six-month-old baby, LaRue's attorney knows this case will be emotional and he believes there has been pressure on police to file charges.

"My client shouldn't be hung on a cross because of a tragic accident and we're going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening," Ackourey said.

Besides the six-month-old baby who was killed, her mother suffered a ruptured spleen and hip fracture.

LaRue's own passenger even suffered a back injury.

The District Attorney asked for the magistrate to set a high bail because he says in 2009 LaRue was given a speeding ticket, in 2012 he was arrested for DUI and then even after the crash he had another traffic citation last December in the Hop Bottom area.

The judge set bail at $75,000 which LaRue was able to post so he is a free man tonight. He is expected back in court late next week.
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