A Struthers man who pleaded no contest to charges stemming from a fatal garbage truck-minivan crash Sept. 20 in Masury will be able to stay out of jail by performing community service.
Stephen W. Styranec, 49, should consider speaking to groups about the dangers of distracted driving or a similar topic to fulfill those 100 hours, said Trumbull County Eastern District Court Judge Marty D. Nosich, who sentenced Styranec Aug. 22. If he does not complete community service, Styranec will have to serve 10 days in jail.
Styranec was not distracted at the time of the crash and the police investigation showed his phone was not in use, said his attorney, John B. Yuhasz.
Styranec pulled a garbage truck from a stop sign while northbound on Bedford Road into the path of a minivan that was eastbound on Route 62, Ohio Highway Patrol said.
A passenger in the minivan, Blaine N. Tinelli, 80, of Hubbard Township, was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to a local hospital, police said. The van was driven by Tinelli’s wife, Linda A., 75. She and Styranec were treated for injuries.
Styranec pleaded no contest May 30 to vehicular manslaughter and failing to yield.
“This is unfortunately an accident,” Yuhasz said. “He was proceeding safely that day.”
The line of sight at this intersection “closes quickly,” Yuhasz said. “Just as Stephen did not see her, she did not see him.”
Following the accident, the Ohio Department of Transportation said it would study this intersection and the similar crossover at Broadway Avenue. An ODOT spokesman said he expects the study by EMH&T of Columbus will be completed “by the end of the year.”
promo“I’m really sorry that the accident happened,” Styranec said.
He said he is a “safe and courteous driver” and the fact of the crash “stays with me every day.”
“Just something I’m going to have to live with,” Styranec said.
Yuhasz said Styranec is very “upset” over what occurred and has had to take medication for anxiety.
There was discussion among family members and Yuhasz as to whether Styranec took any steps to help at the scene, with each side taking a different position.
“He should have to really realize that he took somebody’s life,” said daughter-in-law Nicole Tinelli.
“I know that this is a very difficult day for everybody,” Nosich said.
Nosich fined Styranec $300, put him on 2 years’ probation and suspended his license for 2 years.