Potter Co. man gets prison for accident that killed 2 women

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COUDERSPORT, Pa. — A Coudersport will serve a lengthy state prison term for his role in a 2015 Potter County accident that killed two people and seriously injured another.

Derrick Gleason, 32, was sentenced by Senior Judge John B. Leete on April 11 to a term of 140 to 280 months — or about 11.6 to 23.3 years — in prison, according to District Attorney Andy Watson.

“On Sept. 18, 2015, Gleason was traveling north on State Route 872 in Wharton Township with two passengers, Jessica McKay, and Colleen Ackley-Churchill,” Watson, who prosecuted the case, explained. “According to Commonwealth witnesses, Gleason was traveling 85-90 mph, approached a

right hand curve in the roadway, and tried to overtake a vehicle in the left hand lane on the corner.”

While turning the corner, Gleason’s vehicle struck a 2015 Jeep driven by Steven Weimer, Watson said.

“As a result of Gleason’s reckless behavior, both female passengers in Gleason’s vehicle were instantly killed, and the driver of the Jeep, Weimer,

suffered broken ribs and other injuries,” he stated.

McKay, 34, was from Port Allegany; Ackley-Churchill, 31, was from Coudersport.

A jury trial was held Feb. 13-15, and Gleason was found guilty of all 18 counts against him: two counts each of homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter, and one count each of aggravated assault, aggravated assault by vehicle, criminal mischief, simple assault, recklessly endangering another

person and nine summary traffic violations.

An online court docket for the case indicates he also owes $106,094.78 in restitution, as well as more than $7,500 in fines and other fees.

Watson said several people contributed to the investigation and prosecution of the case, including Trooper Stephanie Makin, who was the arresting officer, Cpl. Sean Batterson and Cpl. Stephen Schmidt, as well as all the witnesses who testified.

“Coudersport-based state police conducted a very thorough investigation in the case,” the prosecutor said.

Watson also extended “his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims.”

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