Justin Klingensmith
Justin Klingensmith

A 2011 crash that killed a Hanover woman "was as preventable and senseless as it was tragic," senior deputy prosecutor Jared Mellott told jurors on Tuesday.

But Justin Klingensmith's defense attorney, Frank Arcuri, during his opening statement, told jurors all accidents are preventable and are just that -- accidents.

"What makes this one different?" he asked.

Klingensmith, 20, of Blooming Grove Road in Penn Township, is charged with vehicular homicide and related offenses for the May 10, 2011, crash that killed passenger Melissa M. Allison.

The 24-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Neither was wearing a seat belt, police said.

Mellott alleges Klingensmith "disregarded the signs of drowsiness and continued to drive despite the warning signs."

He told jurors it was reckless and grossly negligent of Klingensmith to ignore those warning signs.

The background: The crash happened in the 5700 block of Blooming Grove Road, near the Skyview Drive intersection and in front of Manheim Elementary School, Southwestern Regional Police said.

Klingensmith was driving his 1997 Ford F-150 pickup truck westbound when it veered into the opposing lane of traffic and went off the road, crashing head-on into a large tree without braking, according to police.

The truck was going about 45 mph at the time, Mellott said.

Mellott told jurors Klingensmith had just met Allison at a party and the two of them decided to drive around.

Klingensmith told police he thought he fell asleep behind the wheel, court documents state.

"According to Klingensmith's times, (he) had been awake for approx. 18 hours at the time of the accident," documents state.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.