11 years for causing crash that killed elderly man in Highland
Post-Tribune staff report July 2, 2012 3:06PM
Updated: July 2, 2012 10:25PM
A Dyer man faces a maximum 11-year sentence after pleading guilty Monday in Lake Superior Court in connection with a 2010 crash that killed one man and seriously injured a second person.
Randolph James Scalzitti, 44, pleaded guilty to charges of reckless homicide and failure to stop after an accident resulting in serious bodily injury in a crash that killed Lawrence Szafasz, 75, and seriously injured Shirley Szafasz.
On Oct. 17, 2010, Scalzitti was driving a 1998 Ford Explorer westbound in the 3000 block of 45th Street in Highland. Lawrence and Shirley Szafasz were driving a 2000 Chevrolet S10 pickup, which was stopped in the left westbound lane and trying to turn left from 45th Street onto Delaware Parkway.
One second prior to impact, Scalzitti was traveling at 30 mph in the left westbound lane. He rear-ended the pickup, causing the truck to be pushed about 300 feet across the eastbound lanes until it struck the southern curb, which blew out the truck’s tire. Scalzitti’s Explorer continued to accelerate, causing the pickup to jump the curb and enter a parking lot, where the bumpers of the two vehicles became entangled.
Scalzitti continued to accelerate, spinning both vehicles 360 degrees in the parking lot, until the pickup with the couple struck a 2-foot concrete pillar. The two vehicles then disengaged.
The crash severed the spinal column of Lawrence Szafasz, and he died after being airlifted to a Chicago hospital.
Shirley Szafasz was knocked unconscious and suffered bruising, swelling and extreme pain.
Scalzitti drove out of the parking lot and ran a traffic light at Indianapolis Boulevard and Hart Road while being pursued by a witness.