Arrest made in 2006 fatal Tioga County crash

Mother of 3 killed when loose trailer smashed into her car






This is the homemade trailer that broke loose from a pickup truck on state Route 287 in Tioga County, Pa., struck a northbound car and killed its driver, Rhonda Fromm, 34, of Lawrenceville, in October of 2006. The driver of the pickup truck did not stop at the accident scene. / FILE PHOTO

Arrest made in 2006 fatal Tioga County crash

Mother of 3 killed when loose trailer smashed into her car








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WELLSBORO — State police on Monday arrested a Westfield, Pa., man on felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from the Oct. 27, 2006, death of a Lawrence Township woman who was killed when a runaway trailer slammed into the car she was driving on Route 287 in Middlebury Township.

Pennsylvania State Police criminal investigator Roger Williams arrested Simon Eugene Gigee, 43, of Ladd Road, on two counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury. One count is a felony, because it was filed in connection with the death of Rhonda Fromm, 34. The other is a misdemeanor, because it stems from non-fatal injuries suffered by Rhonda Fromm's husband, Mike Fromm.

Wellsboro Magisterial District Judge Robert Repard arraigned Gigee late Monday morning and sent him to the Tioga County Prison when he failed to post $100,000 bail. The felony count carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000. The misdemeanor sets maximum penalties of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Gigee, handcuffed behind his back in the courtroom, squirmed in his seat during the preliminary arraignment. He occasionally sat with his face flat on the defense table.

“I want a polygraph," he told police. "That's what I want. This is serious. This is outrageous. I didn't do it."

Police told Gigee that polygraph results are not admissible as evidence in court.

"It doesn't matter," he said. "They work."

State police and the Tioga County District Attorney's Office conducted a comprehensive investigation following the crash. That investigation did not result in a quick arrest in the case, but the investigation remained active.

Police and other investigators gave the following account of the incidents that led to Rhonda Fromm's death:

Mike Fromm had worked a midnight shift at Ward ACP Manufacturing in Lawrence Township. He returned to the family's home at Somers Home Trailer Court that Friday morning and found that Rhonda had dozed off after getting her three children off to school.




After she woke up, the Fromms drove to Wellsboro to pay their real estate taxes. The return trip northbound proved deadly.

Just north of Ives Run, the Fromms' 1997 Dodge Intrepid approached a southbound red 1994 Dodge pickup truck. Just before the vehicles passed each other, a heavy, homemade trailer towed by the pickup truck broke free and crossed into the northbound lane. The trailer struck the driver's side front corner of the Intrepid, causing the car to hit guardrails and flip onto its roof.

Rhonda Fromm was killed on impact. Mike Fromm suffered moderate injuries and went to Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital for treatment. The truck that had been towing the trailer did not stop.

Several items revealed by the investigation led to the filing of charges, among them:

• An Addison woman who was renting property to Gigee and his then-girlfriend told police she saw a trailer on the property before the crash and that it was gone afterward. Police showed her a photograph of the trailer involved in the crash, and she told them it was the same one that had been on her property. Additionally, she told police that the couple had a red Dodge pickup truck on the property.

• Police interviewed a North Carolina woman who, while at her mother's Tioga County home, heard Gigee say "that it was a good thing that police did not investigate the crash that killed (Rhonda) because he would be in jail for murder."

• Police said a young man who had been dating Rhonda's daughter heard that (Gigee) was involved in the death. "He asked (Gigee) if he was the one who had killed (the daughter's) mother, and the defendant said he was," according to an affidavit of probable cause attached to the criminal complaint. "The defendant told him he was hauling a wagon or a trailer. It came off and they sideswiped and (the daughter's) mother was killed."

• Police interviewed a 15-year-old North Carolina girl they identified as Gigee's daughter. "She told them she was a front-seat passenger in the red Dodge truck, which carried three other passengers. Gigee was driving the truck, which was pulling "a flatbed black trailer," according to the affidavit. "She related that the truck began shaking real bad and she thought they were going to wreck. Then she heard a loud boom. She turned to look behind them to see what had happened and her father told her 'no' and she turned back around. Then they just kept driving."

Repard scheduled a preliminary hearing for 10:30 a.m. on March 20.

Gigee has a criminal record in Pennsylvania and New York that includes burglary and theft. He recently completed a state prison sentence for the theft of copper. He also has a current detainer in New York, police said.





 
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