PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A judge has dismissed charges against a trash truck driver who is accused of striking and killing a female bicyclist in Center City in 2017. The judge tossed the case against 28-year-old Jorge Fretts, saying there was a lack of recklessness on his part.
Fretts was facing homicide by vehicle charges in the death of 24-year-old Emily Fredricks. The bicyclist was struck and killed by trash truck on Nov. 28, 2017 at 11th and Spruce Streets.
Investigators say the victim was lawfully traveling in the bike lane when she was struck.
Officials say Fretts was wearing earbuds and looking down at paperwork when he struck Fredricks.
Fredricks’ parents tell CBS3 they were shocked by the judge’s decision.
“We were very shocked that the judge decided to grant the motion to quash the charges,” Fredricks’ mother, Laura Fredricks, said. “We really were confident coming in to today, that that would not happen.”
Emily Fredricks had only lived in Philadelphia for six months and was working as a pastry chef at a French restaurant when she was killed. She enjoyed being closer to her parents’ home in East Brunswick.
“She had just said to me, ‘Mom, do you want to open a high-end catering business?’ It was two weeks before she was killed. She was getting comfortable here in Philadelphia,” Laura Fredricks said.
The judge ruled the evidence did not support prosecutors’ suggestion that Fretts was reckless while operating the trash truck. Homicide Unit supervisor Anthony Voci disagrees with that assessment.
“The internal cab video that we have showed, he didn’t check the mirrors immediately before the turn or even during the turn — he actually glanced down at a piece of paper or documents on a console, that was one. Two, he didn’t use his turn signal. Three, he didn’t yield to the bike lane that was alongside of him on the right hand side,” explained Voci.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is debating if they will appeal.
Waste management contractor Gold Medal Environmental has since settled a $6 million lawsuit with the victim’s family.
CBS3’s Joe Holden contributed to this report.