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March 2, 2017

Man pleads guilty in death of Pitt staffer

David Witherspoon, who killed Pitt staff member Susan Hicks with his car while she bicycled on Forbes Avenue near South Bellefield Avenue in fall 2015, pled guilty Feb. 21 to involuntary manslaughter and related charges.

Witherspoon faces a possible penalty of nine-18 years in jail, and a fine of $45,270, based on one count of causing an accident involving death; one count of involuntary manslaughter; two counts of possession of a controlled substance; and several summary offenses, including driving with a suspended or revoked license and following too closely.

Asked by the judge why he pled guilty, Witherspoon spoke his only sentence in court: “Because I’m guilty and I just want to pay my debt.”

He was found to have synthetic marijuana in his system when his car struck the rear of a Toyota RAV4, which hit a Subaru Outback, killing Susan Hicks, who was caught between the two cars. Witherspoon’s license had been suspended in February 2008, and the revocation was not due to expire until September 2016.

He will be sentenced on May 18.

Susan Hicks was assistant director for academic affairs in the University Center for International Studies’ Center for Russian and East European Studies.


—Marty Levine 

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