WILKES-BARRE — The driver who struck a family of six and a relative on a quiet residential street in Mountain Top last summer won’t face any criminal charges, Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said Friday.
Nina Herbst, her husband, Bryan, their four children and a niece were struck by a vehicle driven by Jigna J. Kyada, 52, of General Pulaski Boulevard, Mountain Top, while walking along Aleksander Boulevard in the Polonia Estates development in Rice Township on Aug. 25.
All seven were seriously injured, including a 10-month-old toddler in a stroller.
All survived and continue to recuperate from their injuries, Salavantis said.
While Kyada won’t face criminal charges, she is facing a civil lawsuit filed by the family in county court.
Dr. Annette Mann, an emergency room physician who lives nearby, rushed to the scene and treated the family until paramedics arrived.
Salavantis in a news release said the incident was investigated by Rice Township police, state police and her office.
As a result of the investigation, law enforcement eliminated controlled substances, alcohol, roadway and vehicle defects, speed and cellphone usage as possible causes, the DA stated.
Salavantis refused to say if Kyada fell asleep at the wheel.
“I cannot, sorry,” Salavantis said after she released her decision.
But she noted evidence made clear the crash was not an intentional act.
Kyada, who could not be immediately reached for comment Friday, cooperated with the investigation, Salavantis stated.
“Although immensely tragic, the incident was accidental and as a result, no criminal charges will be filed,” the release stated.
Salavantis said her office met with the Herbst family prior to making the decision not to file criminal counts against Kyada.
“After meeting with the family who were the victims in the incident, we are able to report that they are recuperating from the physical and emotional injuries that occurred. They have asked that both the public and the media respect their privacy as they continue to recover from this trauma.”
Nina and Bryan Herbst, through their attorney Christopher C. Fallon Jr., filed a writ of summons in county court on Sept. 14, alerting Kyada of a pending five-count civil lawsuit that was filed Nov. 8. Kyada has not yet responded to the suit, according to court records.
The suit alleges Kyada was negligent while operating her vehicle by failing to drive at a safe speed, keeping control and observe pedestrians along the road.
Fallon on March 26 filed a motion seeking to have any possible settlements sealed from public view to protect the children. The family is seeking $50,000 on each of the five counts.