A 33-year-old man could be facing serious jail time after an accident that set a gas station on fire. The Pennsylvania man is accused of drunk driving in an accident that claimed the life of a 52-year-old woman. He now faces charges of DUI and homicide by vehicle. So far, no court date has been announced.
According to authorities in Rayne, some 70 miles from Pittsburgh, the accident took place around 1:30 p.m. on the afternoon of July 5. Witnesses reported seeing two men driving in a vehicle when the car abruptly left the road and hopped a curb. The vehicle went out of control and crashed into at least one fuel pump before also crashing into an auto repair building. The force of the impact set the pump and, by extension, the building itself on fire.
A 52-year-old employee of the shop was trapped inside as the flames spread. Her body was later recovered from the wreckage, and it was determined she died from exposure to the blaze. It is unclear if anyone else was injured or killed in the crash. Police arrested the man, but no reference was made as to why officers believed he was intoxicated. There was no mention of a roadside sobriety or blood test being taken, and it is unknown if the man remains in police custody.
In order to prove the man was guilty of drunk driving at the time of the fatal crash, Pennsylvania authorities will have to provide evidence of his blood alcohol level. If no tests were administered, or if testing took place long enough after the crash to distort blood evidence, the charges could be reduced, and the drunk driving charges might be dropped altogether. This could have a profound influence on sentencing in this case and could allow his defense team to work toward a plea bargain on his behalf.