2006 hit-run case held for Tioga County court
WELLSBORO – “I didn’t do it. They got the wrong guy,” 43-year-old Simon Gigee said outside the Tioga County Courthouse Friday.
District Judge Rob Repard had just handed down his decision to bind the case over for county court arraignment June 30.
Gigee has been charged with leaving the scene in a 2006 incident that killed 34-year-old Rhonda Fromm.
According to state police, a trailer Gigee was pulling behind his pickup truck came loose and crashed into Fromm’s vehicle head-on, killing her and injuring her husband, Michael, who was a passenger in the car.
During the hour-long hearing, Gigee’s 15-year-old daughter, Jewel Gigee, who lives in North Carolina, testified that she was a passenger in her father’s red pickup truck the day in question, Oct. 27, 2006, as they traveled along Route 287 in Middlebury Township.
In response to questioning from Tioga County Deputy District Attorney Krista Deats, Gigee told the court that she was 8-years-old at the time, so she couldn’t remember every detail.
“I remember the truck started shaking, and we had the wooden trailer in back, I turned around and then it came off, they told me to turn around and be quiet, and not to say anything about the trailer coming off or we’d all be in big trouble with lots of people,” she said.
Gigee’s defense attorney Michael Rudinski, of Williamsport, asked why her father told her to turn around.
“They didn’t want you to see?” he asked. “Did you actually see the trailer come off?” he asked her.
“I know the trailer was there, and then it wasn’t there no more and the truck was shaking,” she replied.
Rudinski also questioned Gigee about a statement she gave to police within the past year.
“They told me I had to write a statement or I would go to jail,” she said. “They said I couldn’t lie.”
Once Gigee left the stand and returned to her seat, she became visibly upset and had to be escorted from the courtroom by family members.
State police Trooper Roger Williams testified that after he received information relating to the accident from a former wife of Gigee’s, he traced the trailer and Dodge truck back to Gigee from a 2006 traffic citation in Virginia which contained the identification number of the vehicle. The truck now is owned by San-Du Auto in Wellsboro.
The trailer had been reported stolen from Stage’s Trailer Sales in Tioga on Oct. 8, 2006.
Other witnesses included Gigee’s son, Lee Pierce, who said he had asked Gigee about the accident about five years ago because talk was going around that his father had been involved.
“He was intoxicated at the time and he said accidents happen, and he didn’t want to talk about it,” he said.
Gigee, his father, Eugene; stepmother, Bonnie; and sister, Glenda, all spoke to the press following the hearing.
Bonnie Gigee said the family is of the opinion Jewel testified against her father because of “revenge,” for him telling her he was going to come and get her and bring her back to Tioga County, and she didn’t want to come.
“He doesn’t even know where he was at that time,” she said of her stepson, adding he could have been in Virginia, Wyoming or somewhere else working for the gas industry.
Eugene Gigee said it “makes me mad, I had to put my property up so he’d look like a human and not be brought out in shackles and prison garb, to make him look guilty. It ain’t fair!”
David Stewart, of Lawrenceville, Rhonda Fromm’s stepfather, said the entire ordeal had been “a long and difficult process. We hope there can be some closure.”