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Uncle Charged In 2-Year-Old Niece's Death Arrested

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The man who was behind the wheel when his 2-year-old niece was killed in a car crash last year is now in custody.

Deputy U.S. Marshal David Zerjav says Taylor Jefferson was arrested Friday at a home in the 1000 block of Sunday Street in Johnstown.

(Source: Allegheny County)

According to Zerjav, authorities were searching for a wanted person in the area when officers encountered Jefferson. He was arrested after they confirmed his identity.

Jefferson was driving on I-279 in Ross Township last May with his brother, Tyrek Jefferson, and his niece, Saryiah, when they got into a crash.

State police say Taylor was driving 16 mph in reverse in the left-hand lane, possibly to go back to an exit he had just passed, when his vehicle was struck by an oncoming car.

Saryiah was not in a child safety seat and did not have a seat belt on. Court papers say a Ross Township Police officer found her "wedged between the front and rear seats" of the vehicle. She died of her injuries at the hospital.

According to state police, there were indications that both Taylor and Tyrek had been smoking marijuana and both appeared to be confused and were slurring their words.

Taylor faces more than a dozen charges, including homicide by vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, reckless driving, and operating a car without insurance.

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