Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Crippled ex-Pennsbury student gets probation for drug offenses

Ashley Zauflik was 16 when a school bus ran her over, resulting in the amputation of her left leg. She was charged in April with ossessin and use of marijuana.

Crippled ex-Pennsbury student gets probation for drug offenses

Blog Image
Ashley Zauflik during her leaves court in December, durng her civil trial for damages from the Pennsbury School District. (Bill Reed/Staff)

Ashley Zauflik, the former Pennsbury High School student who lost a leg when she was run over by a bus, will be allowed to clear her record of marijuana use and possession charges, a Bucks County judge ruled Tuesday. 

Zauflik, 22, of Fairless Hills, was given one-year probation for the possession charge and six months’ probation for the DUI charge, to run concurrently.

Her record will be cleared after she completes the probation and community service, so long as she does not commit any other crimes, Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. said.

Zauflik also had her drivers’ license suspended for 60 days, and was ordered to complete a safe-driving course and pay court costs.

She has completed her community service by doing volunteer work for Falls Fire Co. No. 1, said her lawyer, William Goldman.

“Ashley is doing very well,” Goldman said of Zauflik, who stood next to him on crutches, without her prosthesis. She declined to comment.

Zauflik was arrested twice in April – once while driving her silver Kia and the other while parked in a lot.  

The young woman, who underwent more than 25 surgeries and procedures following the January 2007 accident, “was self-medicating herself,” Goldman said.

She qualified for two programs to clear her record because she was a first-time offender and the crimes did not involve violence, Goldman said.

Assistant District Attorney Robert James said the disposition of the case was routine.

Zauflik was the most seriously hurt of about 20 students who were run over by an out-of-control Pennsbury bus outside the high school. She was in a medically induced coma for days and in the hospital for a month.

In December, a Bucks County jury awarded Zauflik $14 million in her civil suit against the school district, which  stipulated that its bus driver had caused the accident. The driver has maintained that the bus malfunctioned.  

But, in May, Judge Robert J. Mellon reduced the award to $500,000, based on a state liability cap for school districts and municipalities.

Zauflik’s lawyers have appealed the verdict to Commonwealth Court and expect to end up in state Supreme Court with a challenge of the liability cap.

comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at cpalmer@phillynews.com, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, FactCheck.org and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at bfinley@phillynews.com, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected