LOCK HAVEN - It's been almost four months since Valerie Teresa Heidt, 12, of Hublersburg, died in a fatal boat crash on the Susquehanna River and an intensive investigation began.
This morning, Clinton County District Attorney Michael F. Salisbury said that probe is nearing an end and he will be meeting with officials today to discuss time tables and charging options.
Salisbury said his office was contacted Tuesday by the private New Jersey firm conducting the crash reconstruction segment of the investigation and has been informed that the report is in the "final stages and should be received within the next week or so."
In anticipation of receiving that report, Salisbury said he and his staff will be meeting today with Waterways Control Officer Tom Nunamacher of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to discuss the next step.
Salisbury promised that additional information will be made available to the public after review of the report and decisions are finalized regarding appropriate charges.
Heidt was a passenger in a boat operated by Bart Garlick of Lock Haven. The Garlick boat collided with one driven by John Englert of Mill Hall at about 7:30 p.m. July 10. The accident occurred about two miles above the Veterans Bridge.
An autopsy showed the youngster died of blunt force trauma.
In all, 10 people were involved in the boat crash, and most of them required some form of medical treatment, including hospitalization.
A passenger in Englert's boat, Barbara Hummer, was seriously injured, but has since been released from the hospital.
Five people were in the boat operated by Englert: Robert Jeirles, Health K. Allen, Todd Fowler, Hummer and Englert.
Garlick had three passengers, Heidt and two boys, and was pulling a skier, according to reports.
The collision of the two boats near the Woodward Township side of the river, across from Hanna Park, sparked an intensive investigation. Members of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Bureau of Law Enforcement, have conducted dozens of interviews to date and have collected numerous pieces of physical evidence.
The District Attorney's Office retained the services of an expert in the field of boat crash reconstruction, who personally inspected the boats involved in the accident, made an on-site visit to Clinton County and met with the district attorney.