The part-owner of the truck involved in a fatal accident Jan. 23 on I-76 was released from jail yesterday after a friend carrying $65,000 in a black leather handbag appeared in court to post bail. In a highly unusual move, Tanya Elizarova, 41, handed the cash to law-enforcement officials during a 90-minute hearing before Magisterial Court Judge Henry J. Schireson in Narberth.
Schireson halted the hearing so that the cash could be counted and deposited in a bank, while State Police Cpl. John Quigg Jr. stood guard.
Afterward, suspect Victor M. Kalinitchii, 41, of the 7900 block of Algon Avenue, Philadelphia, walked out of court on Montgomery Avenue. He was accompanied by Elizarova; his attorney, Perry de Marco Sr.; and an unidentified boy. Kalinitchii declined to comment.
A court clerk said the office staff had seen a large amount of cash bail only once before; it was $10,000, and arrived in a brown paper bag.
Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney James Zoll said he was surprised to see so much cash.
"It's not unusual for high bail to be posted through a bail bondsman, but it is unusual to have someone come in the door with $65,000 in a bag," Zoll said.
Kalinitchii is charged with vehicular homicide in the killing of David Schreffler, 49, of Fort Washington. Schreffler was headed to a meeting in Center City when his Infiniti was rear-ended by a tractor trailer, police said.
Investigators said the rig couldn't stop in time to avoid a traffic jam because its brakes were worn out. The tractor and trailer had current stickers, but an inspection was never done, according to a criminal affidavit. Mechanic Joseph Jadczak, 61, of Delaware, is charged with vehicular homicide for not inspecting the rig, police said.
Further, detectives alleged that Kalinitchii, president of First Guild Inc., the company under which the rig was operating, encouraged driver Valerijs Belovs to continue across country, even though Belovs had told him the brakes were bad.
The truck was headed from California to Philadelphia with a load of broccoli.
Belovs, 55, of the 7900 block of Algon Avenue, Philadelphia, remained in Montgomery County prison, unable to make $350,000 bail. Belovs said in a prison interview Monday that Kalinitchii had told him to put the stickers on the rig, and he did.
"My boss say put, I put," Belovs said. "I believe him because he say everything OK."
As part of the bail agreement, Kalinitchii vowed to not drive a truck or any commercial vehicle, to surrender his passport, to have no contact with witnesses in the case, and to furnish updated contact information.
Kalinitchii was arrested March 17 in Gloucester County on a fugitive warrant. Elizarova was with him in a truck when he was arrested, police said.
Elizarova is listed in state incorporation filings as president of Trans Express L.L.C., a trucking company in Warminster. She also is president of Freighttech Inc. in Warrington, according to state filings.