The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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August 31, 2012

Family wants answers in fatal bridge crash

SUNBURY — The investigation continues into the July 17 auto accident on Veterans Memorial Bridge that claimed the lives of Kirk Mahaffey Jr. and his 3-year-old son, Mayson, but their survivors are frustrated over the pace and what they claim is a lack of information on the case.

Mahaffey, 22, and his son, of Northumberland, died from injuries suffered in the head-on collision.

Brian Glass, 24, and a passenger, Cody Glass, 19, both of Port Trevorton, were heading east in the left lane of the bridge when state police said their vehicle swerved into the path of Mahaffey’s vehicle, which was traveling west.

The police “don’t give us any information other than it’s under investigation,” said Todd Heller, stepfather of Kirk Mahaffey. “We have no idea when we may hear something.”

Heller said Mahaffey’s vehicle, a Chevrolet Equinox, is in state police possession for the investigation, but it still contains belongings of Mahaffey and his son that the family — including Ashley Brown, Mayson’s mother and Mahaffey’s girlfriend — would like to have.

Trooper Angela Jankoviak of state police at Stonington leads the investigation. She was unavailable for comment Thursday.

It’s not unusual for the investigation of such a complex accident to take a while, said Cpl. Todd Hoover, of the Stonington barracks.

The procedure for handling any accident depends on many factors that vary from case to case, Hoover said, adding he does not know the particulars of the bridge crash investigation.

“The law allows for ways to obtain information,” depending on evidence gathered, he said. “In regard to this incident, I can’t comment on what the procedures are or have been undertaken.”

Hoover said accidents such as the bridge crash, which was a violent head-on collision, “are very technologically complex incidents. When we conduct an investigation, there are crash reconstructions, events details, and those portions of investigations are time consuming.”

There also would be discussions with legal officials, such as the district attorney’s office, about possible evidence to provide “so they could more appreciate the details as to what charges would be filed” if there are charges to come, Hoover said.

“It won’t take months or a year” to conclude the probe, he said, “but the time it takes correlates to the investigation.”

Meanwhile, the family tries to cope, Heller said. His wife Rose Heller, Mahaffey’s mother, “is a wreck,” he said. “She can’t eat or sleep.”

Brown said the family is “hanging in there, taking it day by day.”

“There is nothing else we can do,” she said. “But I miss them so much, my heart breaks every single day. People say it gets easier, but it’s getting harder ... and with us not having any answers, it’s stressful and angers us all, because all we want to know is why.”

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