The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 14, 2013

Trial under way in crash that killed young mom

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

— LEWISBURG -- Christopher Wirth's trial began this morning in Union County with testimony from a surviving passenger who said she noticed he was driving too fast just seconds before the Jan. 7, 2012, crash that claimed the life of Allison VonNeida, his girlfriend and mother of their now two-year-old daughter.

State police claim Wirth, 22 of Hartleton was drunk, driving with a suspended license and traveling nearly 90 miles an hour along Route 235 in Hartley Township when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the woods.

Wirth was drinking at Boomerang's Bar & Grille in Millmont with VonNeida and Dediree Cronin, 22 of Hartleton, Cronin said, when they decided to go to the home of Cronin's cousin in Millmont.

Cronin was riding in the backseat of a 1999 Mercury Cougar and testified she tried to put on her seatbelt while reaching around to protect VonNeida in the front seat when the car began to go out of control.

It left the road and crashed into the woods, ejecting both Wirth and VonNeida, whose body was found in a tree some 15 feet off the ground.

Wirth is charged with vehicular homicide in VonNeida's death and aggravated assault for Dediree Cronin's injuries, including a broken right collarbone now held together by a metal plate. District Attorney Peter Johnson asked Cronin to show jurors the eight-inch scar she now bears on her right.

Wirth's lawyer, Brian Ulmer of Lewisburg, challenged Cronin's testimony several times, specifically asking her twice if she had bumped into Wirth when she peered into the front and saw the speedometer. Cronin said she did not touch Wirth.

The trial continues Friday in Union County at 9 a.m. under Senior Judge Louise O. Knight.