Three vehicular homicide charges were dismissed Tuesday against a Johnstown man in the traffic death of a 15-year-old girl.

But District Judge Leonard Grecek ordered Shannon Dykeman to stand trial on the less serious charge of involuntary manslaughter and a careless-driving traffic violation.

Grecek’s ruling came at a 2 1/2-hour preliminary hearing in which a reconstructionist testified that Dykeman had been traveling nearly twice the 25 mph speed limit on Franklin Street when the accident occurred.

Grecek, while not commenting on his ruling, apparently agreed with defense attorney Kevin Rozich of Johnstown that – under state appellate court rulings – traveling at more than 20 mph over the speed limit does not, alone, amount to “gross negligence.”

Prosecutors must prove gross negligence to sustain a homicide by motor vehicle charge.

The vehicular homicide charges are graded as felonies, carrying a maximum sentence of seven years in jail and/or a $15,000 fine each. The manslaughter count is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Rick Varner, the accident reconstructionist, estimated Dykeman was driving at 45 to 49 mph when his van struck Kyna Sokol, a sophomore at Greater Johnstown High School.

The accident happened shortly before 7 a.m. Jan. 31 near Roxbury Park as the girl, after stopping at a sub shop to buy cookies, was crossing the street to the school bus stop.

After the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Edward Connor said, “We believe we had enough evidence ... but that was the magistrate’s decision. We’ll abide by it.”

Based on the reconstructionist’s findings, “It appears Mr. Dykeman didn’t make any evasive moves, such as breaking or swerving,” he said.

Rozich said that while accident was horrific, “That doesn’t rise to homicide by motor vehicle.

“Some things are truly just accidents. It’s not a criminal matter. It’s a civil matter.”

He said he plans to ask county court to throw out the manslaughter charge.

Neither Dykeman nor members of Kyna’s family commented as they left the hearing.

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