Pennsylvania Man Sentenced in Fatal Ohio County DUI Crash

Photo by Jessica Broverman Joshua Kraushaar of Claysville, Pa., is led from Ohio County Circuit Court on Monday after his sentencing on charges of DUI causing death and DUI causing injury.

Joshua Kraushaar of Claysville, Pa. received a three- to 15-year prison sentence Monday for what Ohio County Circuit Judge David Sims said is a debt to society that must be paid.

According to Assistant Prosecutor Michael Olejasz, Kraushaar will serve three to 15 years on one charge of DUI causing death and one year for the charge of DUI causing injury. The sentences will run concurrently, due to his clean record prior to the crash.

Kraushaar was arrested last year after striking motorcyclist Brandon Gates, 22, with his vehicle on National Road in Valley Grove, near Battle Run Road. This resulted in the death of Gates, while another victim is now in a wheelchair due to his injuries.

According to prosecutors, video surveillance shows Kraushaar leaving the scene of the crime. Just before Sims handed down Kraushaar’s sentence, he said, “I’ve got a 25-year-old son who could be sitting where you’re sitting, but then again, I could be sitting where the Gates family is sitting. You’ve made some bad decisions and now you have a debt to pay to society.”

Friends and family members attested to Kraushaar being a shy person with a good work ethic. “If I could go back and change what happened, I would do that. … I accept responsibility for my actions and I am sorry,” Kraushaar said.

The courtroom held more than 50 attendees before Sims announced the sentence. Kraushaar struck another motorcyclist that evening, leaving him with severe leg injuries.

“My leg is going to be messed up forever,” Robert Staymate, who is now in a wheelchair due to his injuries, said. A letter from Gates’ mother, Kelly Gates, was read aloud by Shelly Ernest, a member of the Victim Assistance Program.

“Around 6 a.m., officers were knocking on my door. I remember screaming while the officers were talking and I remember hearing a motorcycle, thinking, ‘Brandon’s here. They must have the wrong kid. They’re wrong.’ But my worst nightmare came true and my son has died.”

The victim’s brother, Matthew Gates, wrote a letter to the court as well.

“It doesn’t feel real. … Since his death, I haven’t been the same. I can barely make it through the day. I have built up so much anger, anxiety (and) depression,” Matthew Gates wrote.

The letter went on to say Gates has hate in his heart for the man that took his brother’s life.

“Someone once told me there’s three things you’ll do in life that will make you successful,” Sims said. “You follow the rules, you work hard and you make good decisions. Mr. Kraushaar, you broke two of those rules.”

Kraushaar was ordered to pay $2,000 in fines plus court costs.