The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

October 8, 2013

Families share pain at sentencing in fatal accident

— LEWISBURG — In an emotion-filled courtroom Monday, both sides cried and listened as a New Jersey man was sentenced to three to 24 months minus one day in the Union County jail for involuntary manslaughter in the accident that claimed a New Columbia man’s life on Father’s Day 2012.

“This was a horrible thing that I wish never happened,” a choked-up David Selby, 32, of Union, N.J., said, looking directly at the family of Keith Wertz, 53, whom Selby struck and killed when the pickup he was driving drifted off Route 45 east in Vicksburg. “I am so sorry.”

Selby told police he was traveling from a residence in Millmont back to New Jersey with his four children on June 17, 2012, but that he was tired and believes he may have fallen asleep just before the accident. Blood tests showed no indications that Selby was under the influence of alcohol or medications.

Police recovered a text message sent from near Harvey’s Food Mart in Millmont in which Selby said he was very tired and looking to stop for coffee to continue his trip.

Clearly moved by the show of emotion in his courtroom, President Judge Michael Sholley also sentenced Selby to 36 months of probation to follow the jail sentence and 300 hours of community service in which the judge told Selby he expects him to speak about the accident and the dangers of driving while tired.

“I don’t think this is something you can repay by mowing grass or shredding paper,” Sholley said. “I don’t care where you do this as long as you use this tragedy for the benefit of others. If it saves one other life, it will have been worth it.”

Sholley appeared amazed the Wertz family did not seek restitution. Scott Wertz, Keith’s brother, told Sholley the family wants “to see what kind of man (Selby) is.”

He added, “We just want to see in his heart, to do some public speaking and save other lives.”

Selby began serving his sentence immediately. As he was led away by deputies, members of his and the Wertz families embraced each other through tears.

“We’ve talked whenever we needed,” said David’s godmother Cindy Selby, of both families. “This has been a long while in coming.”

Additional charges against Selby of careless driving, failure to keep his vehicle in his lane of travel and failure to have automobile insurance coverage were dropped.

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