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Woman Charged In Fatal Texting While Driving Crash Headed To Trial

NEW CASTLE (KDKA) -- The woman accused in a fatal motorcycle crash is now apologizing.

Laura Gargiulo waived her case to trial today in court.

The 43-year-old woman from Volant is charged with texting while driving and allegedly causing the death of 68-year-old Daniel Gallatin.

Gallatin, a former Scott Volunteer Fire Department chief, was member of the New Castle Area Honor Guard.

"Kind, gentle, very caring," said Honor Guard Commander Tom Pirlozzi, Gallatin's friend.

Police say Gargiulo was driving her Toyota Sequoia last May on Route 956 in Hickory Township when she rear ended Gallatin who was riding his Kawasaki motorcycle

Both he and his motorcycle were dragged beneath the SUV for a distance.

According to the criminal complaint, Gargiulo told police that she failed to see the motorcycle turn into the driveway because she was texting on her cell phone at the time of the accident.

"This is the first opportunity for us to express our total and complete sympathy for the family for their loss," says John Zagari, Gargiulo's attorney. "It's a horrible, horrible accident."

But he would not address the texting charge.

"We'll let the legal process move its way through," he said. "This is not the time or the place."

The Pennsylvania law banning texting and driving was passed in March of last year.

"They do have a law, but it has to be enforced," says Pirolozzi. "And if it's not enforced, there's not much we can do about it."

Leaving the hearing, Gallatin's family kept their thoughts to themselves.

"He was always here for us, that's why we're here for him," said Pirolozzi.

The case will go before a judge sometime in November.

Gargiulo is charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless and careless driving, and texting while driving.

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