Vehicle homicide charges filed after investigation into May 2021 East Petersburg fatal collision

North Lancaster County Regional Police and the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office filed and approved charges relating to a fatal crash at the intersection of Main Street and Graystone Road in East Petersburg Township in May 2021 .

Cesar Torres, 38, of Florida, was charged with two counts each of vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony, and manslaughter, a first-degree misdemeanor. Torres also faces summary misdemeanors of failing to stop at a red signal and driving at a safe speed.

At approximately 9:06 p.m. on May 22, 2021, NLCRPD officers responded to a collision involving a fire between a pickup truck and a semi-trailer truck. The van had overturned, resting on its roof, and was engulfed in fire. The tractor-trailer, operated by Torres, was also engulfed in fire; the accused was not injured.

The two occupants of the van, brothers Brandie and Leonard Kasper, were trapped inside and pronounced dead at the scene.

The Lancaster County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy and concluded that the victims died as a direct result of smoke inhalation and thermal burns and multiple traumatic injuries sustained from the collision.

A reconstruction of the collision revealed the following:

– The tractor-trailer was traveling south on Main Street when it crossed a solid red traffic light and struck the passenger side of the van, which was traveling west on Graystone Road through a green traffic light .

-The road conditions were dry and free of any foreign debris at the time of the collision.

-The pavement at the impact zone showed no signs of defect.

-The posted speed limit for the area is 25 miles per hour.

-The tractor-trailer was traveling between 31 and 33 miles per hour when it crossed the red signal.

-The van was going about 7.5 miles per hour.

-A mechanical inspection of the semi-trailer truck could not determine any pre-crash mechanical faults or failures due to fire damage. No pre-existing defect was reported by the defendant.

Four witnesses also observed the collision.

Through the investigation, it was concluded that Torres was the sole contributor to the cause of the collision, which left two people dead, and failed to stop for a clearly visible red light, even though he had enough time and distance to see the light and come to a controlled stop before the intersection.

Torres is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The NLCRPD, Pennsylvania State Police and Lancaster County Detectives assisted in the reconstruction of the collision.

NLCRP agent Alex Good filed the complaint.

First Assistant District Attorney Todd Brown and Assistant District Attorney Caitlin Blazier approved the charges.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sean McBryan, [email protected]; Twitter: @SeanMcBryanLanc.

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