Authorities Continue Search for Franklin Man Wanted for Homicide by Vehicle While DUI

| April 18, 2018

VENANGO CO., Pa.(EYT) – Franklin-based State Police continue to search for a Franklin man who is wanted for homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.

State police are requesting information from the public as to the whereabouts of 34-year-old Raymond Norman Herold, of Franklin.

Herold faces criminal charges in connection with a crash that killed a Franklin woman in June of 2016.

Anyone with information is asked to contact PSP Franklin at 814-676-6596.

Case Details:

According to a criminal complaint, a one-vehicle crash occurred when Raymond Norman Herold under-compensated while attempting to negotiate a turn, causing his vehicle to travel off Sugarcreek Drive. Once off the roadway, the vehicle struck a utility pole with the driver’s side door. The vehicle then flipped over and spun 180 degrees and struck a small tree before coming to rest on its roof facing the opposite way that it had struck the utility pole.

The complaint states that the vehicle owner, Christina Joan Hoover, of Franklin, was sitting in the front passenger seat and was partially ejected from the vehicle resulting in fatal injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Physical evidence observed at the scene included the following:

– The vehicle was on its roof;
– Herold was loaded into an ambulance for transport to a landing zone to be transported by helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian;
– Hoover was still partially in the vehicle (partially ejected through the vehicle sunroof) and laying on the ground with the vehicle laying on her upper chest/neck;
– A utility pole was sheared off approximately three to four feet above the ground; and
– Numerous wires were down on the roadway and around the vehicle.

The following damages were observed:

– There was dirt packed into the wheels of the left side tires. The dirt can be attributed to the vehicle sliding sideways just prior to impact with the utility pole;
– At 828 Sugarcreek Drive, a path in the driveway gravel and then a yard off the south side of the roadway was attributed to the vehicle. This path started at approximately the apex of the curve and ends at the utility pole that was struck;
– There was heavy damage to the driver’s side door which can be attributed to the impact with the utility pole.
– The glass from both doors, the rear window, and the sunroof were broken out;
– Pieces of wood from the utility pole were embedded in the driver’s door;
– A small tree that was struck had a branch broke off of it; and
– White Nike shoes were wedged in the area of the gas and brake pedals.

Items of evidence were that were collected and submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police Laboratory in Erie for preparation of DNA analysis included:

– A pair of white Nike shoes size 9;
– A pair of black Nike sandals;
– The driver’s side curtain airbag;
– The driver’s side front airbag;
– The driver’s side front knee bolster;
– The driver’s side seat airbag;
– The passenger’s side front airbag; and
– The airbag control module.

The prepared items were then submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police Forensic DNA Division in Greensburg for DNA analysis. The lab report from the Forensic DNA Division indicates that Herold’s DNA was located on the driver’s side front airbag, driver’s side front knee bolster, driver’s side seat airbag, and the passenger’s side front airbag. The lab report further states that no interpretable results were obtained from the white Nike shoes and the driver’s side curtain airbag, according to the complaint.

Christina Hoover was pronounced dead at the scene on June 6, 2016, at 12:07 a.m. by Venango County Coroner Christina Rugh. An autopsy was performed on Hoover at the Erie County Coroner’s office on June 6, 2016. Eric Lee Vey, Forensic Pathologist, completed a report which attributed the death to blunt force trauma to the neck and trunk.

Attending Paramedic Interviewed

On June 8, 2016, at approximately 12:50 a.m., Trooper Bingman, of PSP Franklin, spoke to the attending paramedic who provided treatment to Herold after the crash.

The paramedic provided the following statement:

– Herold told her that he was not driving the vehicle and said the female Christine or Christina was the driver.

– Herold said he was not sure of her name as he had only known her for a week or two.

– He stated that he was not wearing a seat belt.

– Herold had lacerations to the left side of his face and that she transferred his care to STAT MedEvac 6 who flew him to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Trooper Miller Interviews Herold at UPMC Presbyterian

Trooper Miller of the Pennsylvania State Police Pittsburgh barracks responded to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital to interview Herold around 2:20 a.m. on June 6.

Herold told Trooper Miller that he was at a local bar in downtown Franklin. He stated that he went there around 9:30 p.m. to meet a friend of his, Christy Hoover, play pool, and have a few beers.

Hoover was already at the bar with a friend of hers whose name was unknown to Herold but he knows that the two of them worked together at a Franklin restaurant.

Around 11:30 p.m., he and Hoover were going to leave and go to one of his friend’s house to eat some fish and drink some more beer. Prior to leaving, the friend of Hoover asked Herold not to let Hoover drive because she had been drinking too much. Hoover stated that she was okay to drive, so the two of them got into Hoover’s car and left with Hoover driving.

Herold said that he remembers leaving downtown Franklin heading towards Sugarcreek on Route 322. He said that the road is very curvy in this area and the roads were wet from it raining earlier in the day. They went around a curve, and all he remembers is waking up with the car on its roof. He stated that Christy was pinned under the car, and he had to crawl over her. He then kicked out the driver’s side window to get out of the car. Once outside he tried to lift the car from on top of her.

He said he was screaming for help, and there were other people around the crash scene, but they would not approach the car because there were electric wires around them; the car apparently hit a pole which caused the wires to be down. He said that the people at the scene were yelling for him to keep his head down, so he didn’t touch the wires.

Herold said that he did not have a seat belt on and neither did Hoover.

Herold had lacerations to both sides of his face which required stitches. The left side of his face was more severely injured than the right side of his face.

Herold’s clothes were taken as requested by PSP Franklin.

Herold told Trooper Miller that he did not know where his shoes were, but the ones that he had on were white Nikes.

Trooper Bingman Obtains Search Warrant for Herold’s Medical Records

A search warrant was obtained from Magisterial District Judge Patrick E. Lowrey for Herold’s medical records.

The blood test was performed at 1:30 a.m. on June 6. His BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) was 0.097%.

Corporal Ulintz Interviews Woman Who Was With Hoover at Local Bar on Night of Crash

Around 1:30 p.m. on June 9, 2016, Corporal Ulintz interviewed a known female who was with Hoover at the local bar on the night of the crash.

During the interview, she told Trooper Bingman that she went out to the parking lot at the same time as Hoover and Herold. She observed Hoover get into the passenger seat of her car and Herold get into the driver’s seat.

Trooper Bingman Interviews Herold at His Residence

Sometime between 10:10 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on June 15, 2016, Trooper Bingman interviewed Herold on the front porch of his residence located at 412 4th Street, Franklin.

Herold told Trooper Bingman that he and Hoover left the local bar to go to a cookout in Sugarcreek. He was going to take his truck but Hoover wanted to drive and didn’t want to leave her vehicle at the bar, so they both got into her car.

During the interview, Herold told Trooper Bingman that he wasn’t driving.

When asked whether he was willing to give a DNA sample, he said “Yes.”

Corporal Ulintz Interviews Man Who Was at Local Bar on Night of Crash

On August 4, 2016, around 1:33 p.m., Corporal Ulintz interviewed a known man who was at the local bar with the known woman, Herold, and Hoover on the night of the crash.

Hoover was buying drinks for herself and for Herold. Hoover was not completely finished with her drink, but Herold was finished with his. Hoover paid the tab and for a six-pack to go, according to the known man.

The bartender told the known woman to make sure Hoover was not driving, and Hoover told the bartender that she was not going to drive.

Trooper Bingman Interviews Known Man Who Was at Crash Scene

ON May 9, 2017, at approximately 12:42 a.m., Trooper Bingman spoke with a known man at his residence.

On the night of the crash, the known man went in the local bar to get a six-pack of beer to take with him to a friend’s house.

He stated that Herold and Hoover were at the bar. He said Hoover was “pretty drunk” and the bartender had just “shut her off.”

As he was preparing to leave the bar, he could hear Herold and Hoover discussing whose vehicle they were going to leave in because neither of them wanted to leave their vehicle in the bar parking lot.

He heard people, including the bartender, saying that Hoover should not drive since she was drunk. He left the bar, and Herold and Hoover were still there.

He was driving in the area of the Sheetz store when a car that was behind him pulled right up to his bumper. This car continued to follow him through town. He wasn’t driving fast because he had already had a beer and didn’t want to draw attention to himself. While on US 322 headed towards the Village of Sugarcreek, the car that had been following him, passed him. He saw the car bear left onto Sugarcreek Drive.

A moment later he came upon a crash. He got out of the vehicle and assisted Herold out of the car. Herold asked him to get Hoover out of the car. He couldn’t see Hoover and asked where she was to which Herold replied that she was under the car.

While on the scene of the crash, Herold allegedly said to him, “Oh (expletive) I killed someone.”

With what he heard at the bar (people saying that Hoover should not drive) and with Herold’s statement at the crash scene, he assumed that Herold had been driving the car.

Charges Filed, Awaiting Preliminary Hearing

The following charges were filed against Herold on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Magisterial District Judge Patrick E. Lowrey’s office:

– Homicide By Vehicle While Driving Under The Influence, Felony 2
– Homicide By Vehicle, Felony 3
– DUI: General Impairment/Incompetent of Driving Safely – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor
– DUI: General Impairment (BAC .08 – .10) 1st Offense, Misdemeanor
– Disregard Traffic Lane (Single), Summary
– Driving at Safe Speed, Summary
– Careless Driving, Summary
– Failure to use safety belt – driver and front seat occupant, Summary

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