Christoper Beeghley is shown at his sentence hearing in Girard Municipal Court.

Christoper Beeghley is shown at his sentence hearing in Girard Municipal Court.

“As Christians we know that we must forgive each other just as God forgives us,” Laura Estep said to Christopher A. Beeghley at Beeghley’s sentence hearing for the death of Estep’s son on June 7.

“Mr. Beeghley, I want you to know, as Tyler’s parents, we forgive you,” Laura said.

Tyler R. Estep’s sister, Tasha Plate was not so charitable.

“I know you didn’t drive down the street with the intention of killing someone that day, but your actions afterward are unforgivable,” she said, referring to Beeghley leaving the scene. “They’re despicable and they’re cowardly and I hope you carry that shame with you for the rest of your days.”

Girard Municipal Court Judge Jeffrey Adler sentenced Beeghley to 5 years’ probation, $600 in fines and an 18-month driver’s license suspension,

Tyler Estep

Tyler Estep

Tyler Estep. 28, of 8168 Edmond St., Masury, was killed Feb. 1 along Interstate 80 in Hubbard Township when he was hit by a truck pulling two trailers driven by Beeghley, 37, of North Collins, New York, Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Estep’s car had run out of gas, and a person identified by police brought him gas for the car and then left.

“Mr. Estep began fueling his vehicle,” police said. “Due to a guard rail on the right side of his vehicle Mr. Estep was forced to fuel his vehicle while standing near the white fog line. Mr. Estep did not have the hazard lights of his vehicle activated. Mr. Estep also was wearing darker clothing, a gray flannel shirt and denim jeans. At the time of the crash, the roadway was dark and traffic was light.”

Hubbard Township police was the first agency dispatched, at 7:01 a.m.

Police discovered pieces of truck at the scene that they believed to be consistent with Estes Express Lines, and contacted the company. Company employees turned over video footage of the truck hitting Estep and identified Beeghley, police said.

Beeghley was in Buffalo, N.Y., by the time he was identified, and two Ohio state troopers met him there.  He did not make any statements to police, who took photos of the damage to his tractor.

The trailers had been dropped off in Shenango Township, Mercer County, and police collected samples of human fluids, tissue and bone from them.

Four days after the crash, troopers went back to the scene at about 6:30 a.m. and recreated it to try to perceive what Beeghley would have seen. They said they determined the Seifert Lewis Road overpass cast a shadow over the spot where Estep’s disabled car was, and could have prevented Beeghley from seeing Estep.

Police also identified a witness who saw an Estes truck pulled over near the car at about 6:45 a.m. The witness said he thought he saw a deer carcass at the side of the road. 

Alcohol was detected in Estep’s tissue, but an accurate blood-alcohol level could not be obtained because of the damage to the body, police said.

promoPlate said Estep was a “beautiful little brother. He was so kind and sweet.”

He shared her dark humor, she said.

“Tyler was just starting his life,” Plate said. “He had turned 28 just days before you (Beeghley) hit him. He had moved into a little house with his fiancé and they were pregnant with his first child, and Tyler’s life was stolen from him. Autumn (Wilson)’s future with him was stolen from her, and their baby will grow up without a dad.”

Wilson, in a statement read by Plate, said Estep had helped her start to overcome the trauma of having been abused in past relationships.

“He was such a rare soul, and I’m so grateful I got to experience him,” she said, but added, “I need Tyler more than ever. You not only took the life of my best friend and the love of my life, but you took the life of my unborn son’s father. This is Tyler’s first child, and it is devastating that they would never meet.”

“I want people to know how deeply loved and cared for Tyler was,” said Estep’s sister, Grace Estep. “It wasn’t just another accident that happened.”

Beeghley made a brief statement at sentencing: “I am truly sorry for all the events that happened that day.”

Beeghley pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, vehicular manslaughter, and a traffic offense, driving in marked lanes. Adler noted that one of the key factors he had to consider in sentencing Beeghley was whether it was likely he would get in trouble with the law again.

“The defendant has no prior criminal record and the court finds that he is not likely to commit a further criminal offense,” Adler said.