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Man To Stand Trial After Detached Tire Kills Driver On Route 28

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A driver of a truck whose wheel came off and killed another motorist last month will head to trial.

Eric Gonzales-Huerta is facing charges of causing an accident with death and causing an accident without a driver's license or insurance, stemming from the Nov. 21 incident.

During a preliminary hearing Tuesday, a charge of leaving the scene of an accident was dropped, because the driver didn't know the incident had happened.

"The most serious charge is being involved in an accident with death or injury when he was unlicensed. So, we have to investigate his license status and also, as I argued in court, I believe that the Commonwealth must prove some sort of a causation. This is nothing but a tragic incident. A man lost his life, from all accounts a good man. But, there is not one shred of evidence presented that my client caused that accident to happen, that he's any way criminally negligent or responsible for that death," defense attorney Paul Giuffre said.

Robert Lofink, 75, of Gibsonia, was killed in the accident.

A white pickup truck was hauling the trailer on the inbound side of the road when for some unknown reason, a tire from the double-axle flew across the jersey barrier and slammed into the windshield of Lofink's vehicle. He was killed instantly, but his wife wasn't injured.

Previously, KDKA's Paul Martino was told the suspect did not have a driver's license and is not a United States citizen.

Police said the three other men who were with Huerta were also not legal citizens.

They also say they believe the men didn't even know the tire flew off until they drove all the way to McKees Rocks to dispose of some roofing material.

"He was stopped in traffic, they now had identification of the vehicle and the police stopped him and explained to him the vehicle was involved in an accident," said Giuffre.

They returned to the scene, apparently looking for the lost tire when they learned of the accident and were taken into custody.

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