Winter weather makes highway travel riskier for all drivers, especially those who have been drinking or using drugs. In a recent freeway crash on I-84 in Dingman Twp., the driver of a semi-trailer truck lost control of his vehicle, struck a highway patrol vehicle and hit a trooper. Accident scene investigation, including a breathalyzer test, alcohol and drugs appear to have been the root causes of the accident.
According to police reports, the driver's girlfriend was a passenger in the truck. She allegedly told police that the driver was sipping both beer and whiskey and that the two of them were sniffing cocaine from a black plastic fork. The surface of the highway was very icy due to an ice storm that had just passed by. The state troopers were investigating another accident on I-84 when the semi approached the scene. The driver lost control and the truck began to jackknife. One of the troopers said that he saw the semi headed his way and that it was apparently out of control. The semi struck a state patrol vehicle and then hit a trooper. The trooper was thrown into the air. The semi stopped after it hit another state police car.
The driver and his girlfriend attempted to hide or throw away the evidence of their drinking and drug use. The driver denied having consumed alcohol, but he failed a breathalyzer test. He was later taken to a hospital where he consented to a blood test. At the accident scene, a drug recognition expert examined the driver and concluded that he was intoxicated and could not safely drive a motor vehicle. The driver has been charged with several drunk driving crimes, including aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, DUI and various traffic citations.
The driver and his girlfriend both face very serious criminal charges. They are both entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until they have been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to consult a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling drunk driving cases. Such a consultation can provide a helpful analysis of the facts and law of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.
Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, "Police: Driver was drunk, high when he struck trooper," Joseph Kohut, Jan. 13, 2017