A man has reportedly refused to testify at his own trial after he was accused of causing an accident that killed a passenger riding on his ATV. Pennsylvania authorities said the man is believed to have been intoxicated at the time of the accident, which allegedly led to his causing the accident. If the man is found guilty of the myriad charges against him, including the drunk driving charge, he will face serious jail time for his purported role in the death.
According to Pennsylvania court records, the 33-year-old man is believed to have been drinking when he went riding his ATV with a 21-year-old passenger back on Christmas Eve 2016. The accident is believed to have taken place around 2:35 a.m. and caused the death of the passenger. Prosecutors say the man's blood alcohol was tested, returning a result of 0.135, well over the legal limit of 0.08. They also noted he was not licensed to operate a vehicle in the state and his license in his home state had been suspended.
He now faces charges of DUI homicide by vehicle, accidents involving deaths while not properly licensed, homicide by vehicle, and several other charges. If he is found guilty, he faces the mandatory sentence of at least three years in prison. It is unclear why the man has reported he will not testify at his trial, but an accident reconstruction expert called in by the defense has suggested there is no evidence to conclude he was operating the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Refusing to testify at a trial is not an implicit guilty plea, and Pennsylvania prosecutors will not be able to treat it as such. Thankfully, he has the support of criminal defense representation to fight the drunk driving charges, and his counsel has already begun calling expert witnesses in his defense. If he was not operating the vehicle, he cannot be responsible for the crash, and the charges could be reduced or even dropped altogether.