The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Motorcycle Officer Death Caused by Wrong Way I-95 Drunk Driver

So, you think only famous people like Snoop Dogg can be slapped with a murder case? Think again, as even regular citizens can be charged with murder.

That is the case for John Leck, Jr., who got drunk and then drove south on northbound I-95, hitting Officer Brian Lorenzo head on, and killing him practically instantly, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Lorenzo was a highly-decorated officer and a trainer in the elite Philadelphia Highway Patrol drill team.

Generally, if you are in a car accident and someone dies as a result, there is no murder charge. Even when there is an aggravating factor, like DUI, it is more likely that the charges will be less severe than murder.

However, Pennsylvania has a statute that allows for a third degree murder charge when there is a homicide that is not intentional, or happens during the commission of a dangerous felony, but is more severe than acting recklessly. Third degree murder is a first degree felony, which carries a minimum six-year sentence with a max of 40 years.

This is of course not the only charge against Leck. There are also charges for DUI and homicide by vehicle. Both are only third degree felonies, carrying minimum sentences of two to three years in state prison. (These are much more severe penalties than the penalties for aggravated DUI and a normal Pennsylvania DUI.)

Here, Leck will likely get around the murder charge, as it was probably added because he killed a police officer. This also depends on his level of intoxication and any other state of mind evidence that investigators find.

However, Leck will be lucky to be offered a plea deal for vehicular homicide given the rest of the facts in this case. (It is hard to argue that you are not acting recklessly when you get on the highway in the wrong direction.)

John Leck, Jr. is in for some trouble after killing of decorated Philadelphia Highway Patrol Officer Brian Lorenzo, but he'll probably be tortured more by his conscious for killing a father of three.

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