Off-duty officer to plead guilty of homicide

Cheryl Frey waived her hearing today as part of her plea deal

An off-duty Erie Police Officer intends to plead guilty in a fatal car accident that happened in McKean Township in February.  46 year old, Cheryl Frey, plans to agree to plead guilty to Homicide by Vehicle while Driving Under the Influence and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance.

According to the plea agreement, the "Defendant shall waive her preliminary hearing.  Commonwealth agrees to withdraw [the following charges:]  Aggravated Assault by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence, Homicide by Vehicle, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance, Involuntary Manslaughter, Driving on Roadways Laned for Traffic, and Reckless Driving charges.  Defendant agrees to plead guilty to Homicide by Vehicle while Driving Under the Influence and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance.  If [the] defendant does not plead 'guilty' to both charges, then all withdrawn charges are re-instated."

Assistant District Attorney, Jeremy Lightner, tells us, "We determined that an appropriate plea would be something that involved a mandatory minimum of three years that would also involve a DUI. So that's why we were able to sign a plea agreement at this point in time and withdraw charges only in accordance with that plea agreement."

Frey will plead guilty to killing 57 year old, Wade Shulze, in a car accident that happened on Old Route 99, south of McKean Township.  Her attorney says that her plea will be scheduled this summer.

The accident took place in the early morning hours of February 18th.  Pennsylvania State Police say Frey crossed the center line and hit Schulze's car.  A third vehicle then became involved in the accident after the initial crash.  That car was driven by 34 year old, Danny Hamilton.  

Investigators says Frey's blood/alcohol concentration was .231.  Hamilton was also charged in the accident with Driving Under the Influence.  

Frey, being a Veteran Erie Police Officer, has had a hard time dealing with the incident.  "This has been very difficult for Cheryl," says her attorney, Andrew Sisinni, "but, she realizes that, as difficult as it's been for  her; it's been very tragic and devastating for the Schulze's family.  She's always been a stand-up Police Officer [and] stand-up citizen.  She stood up here and she's taking responsibility for her acts." 

Lightner says, "we met with the Schulze family this week and we had a productive interview. Obviously those meetings are always tough to talk about what occurred but they understand where we're at, they're in full agreement."

Police Don Dacus tells us Frey's status with the department has gone from paid administrative leave to unpaid.  The plea will determine her future with the Erie Police Department.


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