More than a year and a half after a fatal crash led to the death of Pitt faculty member Susan Hicks, the man who pleaded guilty to causing the crash received his jail sentence this Thursday.
David Witherspoon, 51, who plead guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and drug offenses when court proceedings began in April 2016, received a sentence of five to ten years in prison. Witherspoon caused a chain reaction car pile-up on Oct. 23, 2015, that trapped and partially crushed Hicks on a bicycle between two cars on Forbes Avenue, leading to her death.
Hicks, who was an administrator in the University’s Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies, died at 34. In the wake of her death, students, family and friends came together to finance an academic scholarship in Hicks’s memory — the Susan M. Hicks Memorial Fund. Hicks’s death reignited the debate over cyclist safety and caused a stronger push for bicycle lanes among the reactions to the tragedy.
According to prosecutors, Witherspoon had traces of synthetic cannabis in his system at the time of the crash. His driver’s license had also been suspended prior to the crash. He will begin to serve his five- to 10-year sentence after completing a 15- to 30-month prison stint he is currently serving for theft.