Judge agrees to dismiss charges against trash truck driver who killed cyclist

Kristen Johanson
August 14, 2019 - 1:24 pm
Emily's parents, Richard and Laura Fredricks, along with their attorney, speak on the $6 million settlement they reached with Gold Medal Environmental. They plan to use the money to fund the Emily Fredricks Foundation.

Mike DeNardo | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia judge has tossed charges against the driver of a trash truck who struck and killed a woman on a bike in Center City nearly two years ago.

Jorge Fretts' defense attorney argued that the 28-year-old driver was not criminally reckless when he hit Emily Fredricks as she was riding her bike near 11th and Spruce Streets — and that it was a terrible accident.

Judge Lillian Ransom agreed and dismissed all charges, including vehicular homicide.

"We were very shocked that the judge decided to grant the motion," said the 24-year-old victim's mother, Laura. 

An image of Emily Fredricks on a button is shown worn by her mother, Laura.
Kristen Johanson/KYW Newsradio
District Attorney Homicide Supervisor Anthony Voci argued that Fretts was not paying adequatre attention.

"The Internal cab video that we have showed that he didn’t check the mirrors immediately before the turn, or even during the turn. He actually glanced down at a piece of paper or documents on his console. He didn’t use his turn signal. He did not yield to the bike lane," Voci said. 

He said Fretts made the right-hand turn from the left lane.

"When you are operating a 64,000-pound vehicle at rush hour, in the city of a million and half people, and it's a large commercial vehicle that's got a lot of blind spots, you better be driving that extra carefully. And in this case he wasn’t driving that thing anywhere near carefully," Voci said.

District Attorney Larry Krasner announced the charges in February.

Prosecutors have 30 days to appeal. Another court date is scheduled for next month.

Fretts and his defense attorney did not want to comment for this story.

Fredricks' parents say they hope the prosecutors continue to fight for what they call justice.

"It's very easy to kill someone with your vehicle here and get away with it," said Laura. "So we really want things to change."

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