PA Court Refuses to Cut Trucker’s Prison Sentence for Fatal Crash

A repeat DUI driver failed to convince a Pennsylvania state appeals court that he should not serve his five to 10 year prison sentence for causing a fatal DUI wreck while driving a commerical box truck.

Truck crash causes injuries in Georgia.

Rather, the Superior Court judge this week supported a Lehigh County, Pennsylvania judge’s decision to slap Robert J. Kritzar with the maximum prison term in the DUI homicide by vehicle case. 

Kritzer had claimed on appeal that his sentence was unfair because he pleaded guilty to charges including homicide by vehicle while DUI and involuntary manslaughter because he though that he would serve just three years in prison. However, he had gotten no sentencing deal.

The DUI crash occurred on Route 22 on the evening of May 24, 2014. Kritzer’s box truck slammed into the rear of a Jeep that was driven by Nathan Warke. Then, the Jeep rear ended a tractor trailer, killing Warke, 34, from Allentown.

The Pennsylvania State Police found the drunk driver curled up in a fetal position near the crash site. Beer and an empty whiskey bottle were found in the man’s truck after the wreck. His BAC was .22, which is three times the legal limit. The computer in the drunk driver’s work truck showed that he was going 66 MPH when he slammed into  the Jeep. He did not touch the brakes until one second before the wreck.

Kritzar, 44, had another DUI conviction in the past.

Our View

Our Virginia personal injury and DUI attorneys are pleased that the Superior Court judge in this case affirmed the lower court’s decision and gave this convicted drunk driver the maximum penalty allowed under Pennsylvania law.

Our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys have zero tolerance for drunk drivers who injure and kill thousands of innocent Americans every year.

Nearly 10,000 Americans die in alcohol-related wrecks annually, the CDC states.  More than 1.4 million drivers were arrested for DUI in 2010.

Drunk driving is a serious scourge and must be eliminated. Not only should drunk drivers have to do jail time. When possible, they should be sued in civil court and be forced to pay damages to the injured, or the family when the victim has been killed.

In this case, the news report states that the truck driver may have been engaged in his work duties in the commercial box truck when the crash happened. If so, the driver’s employer could also be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.

A wrongful death lawsuit could result in a pay out of millions in certain DUI wrongful death cases. We hope that the family who lost their loved one considers this legal action.