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A Pennsylvania jury last week convicted Steven S. Vile of several charges stemming from the death of a 77-year-old woman and other damage that resulted when he had an epileptic seizure while driving a dump truck. But the jury acquitted Vile of felony charges of aggravated assault. Still, Vile’s lawyer, Nicholas Mancini of Newtown, Pa., said his client should not have been prosecuted in the first place. He said he hopes a judge shows leniency at sentencing. “I don’t think he should have endured a criminal trial and been portrayed as such an evil person, and that’s going to come out at the time of sentencing,” said Mancini. But First Assistant District Attorney David Zellis, who prosecuted the case, said the prosecution arises from Vile’s decision to drive a truck even with knowledge of the risks involved as well as knowledge of regulations that prohibit him from driving. Zellis called Vile’s case unusual. “The important part everybody has to remember is we did not charge somebody who had a first-time seizure or never knew they were epileptic,” Zellis said. Vile had a seizure while driving a 14-ton dump truck on Eagle Road near the Village at Newtown shopping center in Newtown Township, Pa., about 9:36 a.m. on Aug. 3 and rear-ended two cars stopped at a red light near Durham Road. The impact flipped a Lincoln Town Car driven by Barbara Sutcliffe, 77. She was killed almost instantly. The out-of-control truck then rolled over a Toyota Camry, crushing it. The driver, Teresa Concepcion, 36, of Newtown Township, suffered a broken back and head injuries. As Vile lay unconscious behind the wheel, the dump truck rolled across the highway and smashed into the First Union bank in the shopping center. It broke through a wall, stopping only after it became embedded in bricks and mortar. Vile was not injured. Eight people were inside the bank, and several more were in the parking lot. All escaped injury. Zellis pointed out that Vile had a valid driver’s license, but he did not have the necessary medical clearance to drive a truck that weighed more than 17,000 pounds. At the same time, Zellis said, Vile knew that he needed such clearance and he was well aware of the potential consequences of having a seizure while driving a truck. Zellis said Vile had a seizure six months earlier. He also argued that Vile lied to doctors about the frequency of his seizures in order to keep his commercial driver’s license. “He knew what the risks were,” Zellis said in an interview. “He put a lot of people at grave risk of death or serious bodily injury for no reason.” Mancini contended that complicated driving regulations left Vile unaware that he was medically unfit to drive a dump truck. He said the regulations are confusing and should be clearer. Vile was found guilty of homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person. Vile faces a maximum 37 years in prison. He will be sentenced following a pre-sentence investigation. The jurors, who deliberated for 14 hours over two days in Doylestown, Pa., found Vile, 39, of Bristol Township, Pa., not guilty on two counts of aggravated assault, which is a felony that carries a mandatory minimum five years and a possible 20-year prison term. Zellis said he does not plan to seek a maximum sentence. “What’s important is that Steven Vile will not be driving a truck for a long time, hopefully never,” he said.

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