Ephrata Police have completed the investigation of fatal vehicle accident that occurred on October 4, 2017 at 9:04 a.m. in the 300 block of South Reading Road, Ephrata Borough. A northbound Toyota sedan driven Ernest T. Capizzi, 64, of Lititz was struck in the rear by a northbound tractor trailer driven Wayne Michael Sauder, 24, of Denver. Capizzi died from injuries sustained in the crash upon arrival at Wellspan-Ephrata Hospital. Sauder was not injured.
Sauder has been cited with Careless Driving Resulting in an Unintentional Death.
The police investigation revealed that Sauder’s attention was on an approaching oversize load and he did not see traffic stopped in front of him. Neither speeding nor intoxication were a factor in the crash. While the evidence showed that Sauder drove carelessly by becoming distracted by approaching traffic and then striking Capizzi’s vehicle, there was insufficient evidence that he did so with the required criminal state of mind that would warrant criminal charges such as Homicide by Vehicle.
The Ephrata Police Department accident reconstruction team investigated the crash with assistance from East Cocalico Township Police, Northern Lancaster County Regional Police and the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.
Sauder is presumed innocent.