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Searchers have eyes on missing dog two weeks after deadly I-78 crash; driver facing vehicular homicide charges

Two weeks have passed since a frightened American Eskimo dog named Ava fled the scene of a fatal car crash on Interstate 78, and though she hasn’t been recovered, searchers say they have eyes on her.The early-morning crash on Saturday, June 29, involved two SUVs in the eastbound lanes near mile marker 44 in Berks County, about 2 miles over the Lehigh County line. One of them was sent tumbling down an embankment, killing 56-year-old Nicholas Winter and 28-year-old Nicolas Winter, and sending 55-year-old Lisa Winter to the hospital with serious injuries, state police in Hamburg said.Investigators charged 41-year-old Christopher A. Cornelius of Kentucky, the driver of the SUV that hit the rear of the Winters’ vehicle, with two counts of vehicular homicide and manslaughter, and multiple counts each of reckless driving and careless driving resulting in death. A previous charge of possession of drug paraphernalia was withdrawn, and Cornelius is currently in Berks County Prison on $1 million bail, according to court records.One dog died in the crash and another suffered minor injuries, state police said. Ava, a medium-sized white dog, fled the scene with unknown injuries and had been wearing a pink harness.Berks Dog Search, a team that picked up Ava’s case after a family member posted to a Facebook page called “Berks County, PA Lost Dogs” the day of the crash, issued an update on the page Saturday saying they have Ava on camera in an isolated location.The group says they have spotted Ava 11 out of the 15 days she’s been missing, feeding in a particular safe spot. She left the spot for three days but has returned, the group wrote.“She just needs to do her job now,” the post reads. “We are hopeful.”The search team has issued periodic updates on the Facebook page throughout the last two weeks, urging page members to privately message the team with any sightings rather than attempting to approach the dog themselves.“She’s extremely skittish,” the team wrote on July 5. “It’s a technical process and the family is aware of our plans and are part of those plans.”State police in Hamburg are also asking anyone with sightings of Ava to call 610-562-6885.Cornelius’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 5 before Magisterial District Judge Kim Bagenstose, according to court records.Morning Call reporter Kayla Dwyer can be reached at 610-820-6554 or at kdwyer@mcall.com.
Source: Morningcall

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