LENOX TOWNSHIP — A driver accused of causing a car crash that killed a 6-month-old girl in Susquehanna County turned himself in on Tuesday.
Zachary Larue, 21, of Kingsley was led into court in handcuffs after turning himself in.
After a seven-month investigation, state police say they had enough evidence to file charges in the crash that killed 6-month-old Lainey Johnson last year.
The crash happened on September 2, 2013 in Lenox Township, Susquehanna County.
The Susquehanna County district attorney said they took their time investigating this case.
“I’ve met with the victim’s family and every loss of life is terribly, but to lose something so previous as a child..,” Susquehanna County District Attorney Jason Legg said.
After reconstructing the crash, troopers say they determined that Larue was traveling between 71 and 73 miles an hour along a portion of Route 92.
The posted speed limit along the road in Lennox Township is 55 miles per hour.
At the time of the crash, police say Larue was on probation for a prior DUI charge.
State police say Larue lost control where the road had a curve and hit the car that Lainey Johnson and her mother were traveling in along with another vehicle.
The child died of her injuries a few days later. Lindsay Johnson, the mother, suffered a hip fracture, sacral fracture, and a ruptured spleen. Police said she had three surgeries following the crash.
“My client feels terrible regret that is involved in this case. But, quite frankly, I think it was an accident,” defense attorney Paul Ackourey said.
A memorial with flowers and a cross sit at the crash site.
Friends of the Johnson family say these last few months have been tough on everyone.
“We’ve known the family for a number of years so it was very difficult to have that happen to our community and it affected everybody,” family friend Suzanne Schwalm said.
Schwalm is the owner of Schwalm’s Deli and More, a few miles from where the crash happened. Her kids grew up with the victim’s family. She’s relieved to hear of Larue’s arrest and hopes this helps the Johnson family.
“I think it was hard to know that he wasn’t in custody after causing something like this. Maybe it will give some peace of mind to the family that there will be some retribution,” Schwalm said.
Larue is free after posting 10 percent of his $75,000 cash bail.
He’s due back in court in a few weeks for his preliminary hearing.