was scheduled to enter a plea agreement before Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky Monday—but the date has been postponed to 1:15 p.m. Nov. 22.
There was a scheduling conflict with Hunter's attorney, according to Pozonsky's office.
Hunter, 18, of South Fayette Township, was ordered by Washington County Judge Curtis Thompson to stand trial on two charges each of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle and driving under the influence on May 25.
Five counts of reckless driving were dismissed.
That ruling came after a nearly two-hour hearing in February, when a district judge listened to testimony from a forensic pathologist and three state troopers.
At that time, state troopers had testified that while Hunter did not satisfactorily complete field sobriety tests given at the scene—she raised her arms slightly to regain her balance, which isn’t permitted—but that she did not appear to be intoxicated to the point where she could not safely operate the vehicle.
The troopers said it was around 5 a.m. when the accident occurred that day, and that the teenager was likely tired, which they said may have impaired her ability as well.
A third state trooper testified as an expert witness in the field of accident reconstruction, and confirmed that none of the four people riding in the Mercolini vehicle were wearing seat belts.
He also said he believed the accident was caused when Hunter rear-ended the Mercolini vehicle while traveling at a high rate of speed.
The trooper indicated he believed it was “physically impossible based on the evidence” for the Mercolini vehicle to have drifted into Hunter’s lane of traffic, as she had told police.
Police said Hunter’s blood-alcohol level was .064 when the vehicle she was driving on Interstate 79 near the Houston exit crashed into one operated by Nickolas Mercolini. The legal limit for drivers under the age of 21 is .02.
According to the criminal complaint, Mercolini was traveling in the right lane when his vehicle was struck in the rear by one driven by Hunter.
Nickolas Mercolini, 65, and Alex Mercolini Jr., 78, both of Pittsburgh, were ejected from the vehicle. They were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other passengers in the vehicle—Catherine Mercolini, 57, and Linda Mercolini, 64, were flown to Allegheny General and Mercy Hospital for treatment.
Hunter had told state troopers at the scene that she and a passenger were on their way home from a party in West Virginia and that she wasn’t paying attention when the other car drifted into her lane and the crash happened. Hunter also told state troopers that she “slammed on the breaks in an attempt to avoid the crash, according to the complaint.
When speaking to her, police said they smelled a strong odor of alcohol, and subjected the teenager to a field sobriety test. She was taken to Washington Hospital, where a blood test revealed that she was under the influence of alcohol.
Court documents reveal that a search warrant on Hunter’s vehicle was issued by district Judge David Mark, and that police seized its Sensing Diagnostic Model. Police said it revealed a speed of 92 mph just before impact.
Hunter is represented by Pittsburgh attorney Daniel Brian Hargrove. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Mike Lucas.