2012-03-15 / Front Page

Shooting Probe Continues

Findings in turnpike motorist’s death to be turned over to county DA
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER

The investigation into a shooting death on Tuesday night, March 6, along the Pennsylvania Turnpike continued last week, with the findings of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop G Major Case Team to be turned over to the Fulton County district attorney.

The investigation began not long after two vehicles collided along the eastbound lanes of the turnpike near mile marker 167 in Brush Creek Township. A trooper from the Everett turnpike station responded to the 8:55 p.m. crash that occurred when 45-year-old Daryl Jerome Berry from Columbia, Md., tried to pass two tractortrailers that were driving side-by-side.

Berry, according to state police reports, drove his 1995 Mercedes- Benz station wagon onto the right-hand berm, where it struck the right side of a 2005 Peterbilt operated by Boyd E. Kreider of Woodbury.

Following the impact, Kreider, 24, was able to safely pull his truck and trailer onto the southern berm. Meanwhile, police said, Berry’s car veered across both lanes of traffic and struck a barrier located in the median strip.

Kreider was uninjured, and it was unknown if Berry was injured as a result of the crash. While the drivers and several other motorists waited for the trooper to arrive, police stated, Berry attempted to physically confront those on the scene. He was wielding a large metal flashlight and acted in an “aggressive manner.”

State police spokesperson Trooper Jeff Petucci of the Hollidaysburg barracks noted when the confrontation occurred the two motorists not involved in the crash immediately left the scene. Kreider sought refuge inside his truck and reportedly called 911 emergency dispatchers.

Upon arrival, the trooper was also confronted by Berry, who was accompanied by two Rottweiler dogs. Berry, police said, ignored the trooper’s commands to place the dogs back inside his station wagon.

Instead, Berry dropped the dogs’ leashes. The dogs ran at the trooper as did Berry, Petucci stated. The trooper was repeatedly struck in the head by Berry’s flashlight and suffered severe lacerations to the head. As the struggle escalated, the trooper pulled his .45 caliber Glock 37 and shot Berry three times.

Berry was pronounced dead at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, March 7, at the scene by Fulton County Coroner Berley Souders. Souders said the cause of death has been linked to “gunshot wounds to the torso and extremities with fractures and vascular injuries.” An autopsy was subsequently performed at Lehigh Valley Medical Center. Toxicology results in the matter are still pending.

The trooper, who was not identified by state police due to the ongoing investigation, was flown to Altoona Regional Health System for treatment of head injuries. He was released the following day.

Once cleared medically to return to work, the trooper will not return to patrol duties but will assume administrative work. The major case team’s findings will be turned over to Fulton County district attorney for his review. He will be responsible for determining if the trooper was justified in shooting Berry. In the event the findings are legitimate, the trooper will be able to resume patrol duty.

The dogs involved in the accident were turned over to a humane officer with the Better Days Animal League located in Shippensburg. The female Rottweiler was contained at the scene inside a state police vehicle, while the male Rottweiler remained on the loose. It was eventually struck by a passing vehicle after it crossed the median into the westbound lanes.

Due to the dog’s injuries and the fact it was showing signs of “severe aggression,” Berry’s family agreed to allow the dog to be euthanized.

Petucci had previously told media representatives the trooper also had to “contend with the dogs” during the attack. He said the trooper was able to ward off the dogs with his feet and legs. “They did not bite,” Petucci added.

During the course of the investigation last Tuesday night, the eastbound lanes of the turnpike were closed for several hours. Travelers were detoured at the Breezewood exit only four miles from the scene. The roadway reopened to motorists between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Wednesday.

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