Charges Against Pennsylvania Firetruck Driver Dropped In Fatal Accident

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (AP) -- Authorities dropped charges against a firefighter who accidentally ran over a colleague with a firetruck and killed him last month.

The family of the victim, David Vinisky, had lobbied all along to get Beaver County prosecutors to drop the charge against Frank Brocklebank, 40, who was a volunteer firefighter with Vinisky in Raccoon Township.

``It helps close the whole issue, and people can heal and start to go back to normal,'' the victim's brother, Drew Vinisky, said after Tuesday's preliminary hearing. ``This is what we wanted, and we're glad we got it.''

Brocklebank was charged with causing a fatal accident while not properly licensed _ a felony _ because his driver's license is suspended due to an undisclosed medical condition. Brocklebank was backing a new truck into the fire department's garage when he ran over Vinisky, 49, who was taking pictures of the new vehicle on Aug. 25.

Under state law, those with suspended licenses can drive vehicles on private property. Whether it was legal for Brocklebank to drive the truck was a gray area because the state's vehicle code considers the driveways and parking lots of political subdivisions or agencies to be public roads.

Prosecutors determined that the wreck was a tragic accident and noted that Brocklebank had his fire chief's permission to drive the truck during the picture-taking session.

Brocklebank didn't comment on the decision.

``Justice is done not always when someone is convicted,'' said James Ross, Brocklebank's attorney. ``And justice was done today.''