The suspect in the death of 53-year-old Shawn Giles had received a driving without a license citation from the city of Erie police two days prior to hitting and killing a volunteer firefighter who was directing traffic after an earlier collision. Kirk Reese of the Pennsylvania State Police.
Giles had volunteered for the Fuller Hose Co. for 13 years. Reese added at a press conference outside of the organization:
“Unfortunately, it is a citable offense and you don’t take someone to jail for that,”
On a $200,000 bond, Dawann M. Simmons, a 41-year-old Erie resident, is being held at the Erie County Prison. Charges of vehicular murder and fatal or serious injury accidents while driving without a license are felonies in the third degree against Simmons.
Court records reveal that Simmons has a significant history of driving violations. For more details see the full post.
Shawn Giles Obituary
We assemble to remember and celebrate the life of Shawn Giles, a true hero who sacrificed his life while sacrificially serving his community, with heavy hearts and deep grief. In North East, Pennsylvania, Shawn, 53, worked as a committed volunteer firefighter with the Fuller Hose Co.
His tragic and untimely death leaves a vacuum that cannot be replaced, and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him will always cherish the memories he left behind.
Tragedy came as Shawn responded to a two-car accident on a fateful Sunday, August 20, 2023, in North East, close to the crossroads of South Brickyard Road and Route 20.
When he was struck by a car being driven at a high rate of speed by a man from Erie who was apparently driving without a license, he was directing traffic and guaranteeing the safety of others.
Shawn Giles was diagnosed with multiple blunt-force trauma injuries and was declared dead at 1:43 p.m. despite the heroic efforts of those who responded to the accident and the medical staff at UPMC Hamot.
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Shawn Giles personified courage and selflessness. His passion for protecting people’s safety and well-being was unmatched, and he was unrelenting in his commitment to serving his community as a volunteer firefighter.
His passing is a terrible tragedy that leaves a hole in the hearts of everyone who knew him as well as the Fuller Hose Co. We send Shawn’s family, friends, and fellow firefighters our sincere sympathies.
Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this extraordinarily trying time as we recognize the depth of their suffering. Let’s not only remember Shawn Giles, but also the remarkable bravery and selflessness of first responders who, like him, risk their lives every day to defend and serve their communities.
We will always be motivated to improve by Shawn’s memory and to continue the crucial task of protecting the safety and well-being of our communities in order to pay tribute to him and carry on his legacy. He won’t just be remembered as a hero, but also as a shining example of bravery and selflessness.
More Details of Crash
He confessed to investigators on Sunday that the night before and the morning of the accident, he had consumed beer, smoked marijuana, and taken Adderall and Gabapentin. However, as of Tuesday, the toxicology tests that will reveal what chemicals were in his system at the time of the crash were still pending.
Prior to Simmons’ preliminary hearing on August 31 before Magisterial District Judge Scott B. Hammer, the results of those tests, together with video evidence recorded on a patrol vehicle’s mobile vehicle recording system, will be used to determine whether additional charges will be brought against Simmons.
After concluding each of these separate investigations and inquiries, the investigator will compile the data and confer with the Erie County District Attorney’s office regarding any new or revised charges before to the preliminary hearing.
Additionally, Simmons is charged with summary offenses for careless driving, driving without a license, and operating a vehicle while having his license suspended or revoked. The camera footage is being used to reconstruct the collision and won’t yet be made available to the public because the inquiry is still in progress.
According to Simmons, he spotted a car stopped in the right eastbound lane of Route 20 while en route to his job at Welch Foods Inc. in North East. He said Giles jumped in front of his car as he was attempting to change lanes toward the stopped vehicle.
Giles was launched 15 to 20 feet before touching down on the ground. After being transported to UPMC Hamot, he was declared dead at 1:43 on Sunday. He had several blunt-force trauma injuries, according to Lyell Cook, the coroner for Erie County.
Erie News Now Tweeted on Aug 23, 2023:
Funeral Plans Set for Firefighter Shawn Giles as Accident Investigation Continues https://t.co/7zMEWw4H4T
— Erie News Now (@ErieNewsNow) August 23, 2023
The tragedy on Sunday has sparked discussions about how to make state rules stronger to safeguard first responders at the scene of an accident. One option, according to Lt. Chris Skrekla, president of the Fuller Hose Co., is to stiffen the penalty for drivers passing a crash scene, much as how they are stiffened for infractions of the law in work zones.
The 28 members of Fuller Hose Co., according to Skrekla, are grateful for the community of Erie and other fire departments’ outstanding assistance. He requested discretion for the grieving firefighters who worked with Giles.
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