The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

DUI Deaths in Philadelphia

Getting arrested for a DUI can be a traumatizing experience, but when driving under the influence causes fatalities, it becomes even more tragic. Philadelphia residents who cause DUI deaths can be prosecuted for murder crimes in addition to DUI charges. The punishments for vehicular homicide are severe, and, if convicted of both murder and a DUI, you could be punished for both offenses.

If you have been involved in a DUI accident resulting in a DUI death, you should speak with a Philadelphia DUI attorney. An attorney can help you understand your legal options, especially if you are facing homicide charges.

Recently in DUI Deaths in Philadelphia:

Penn. Dad Faces DUI After Daughter Killed

A Pennsylvania father has been charged with a DUI after his SUV drifted backward and ran over his daughter as he was getting out the car to take photos of her on her first date.

While Richard Benton, 53, wasn't driving at the time of the accident, police report that he was visibly intoxicated when they arrived at the scene, reports CBS News.

In addition to the emotional gravity, his daughter's death may affect the severity of Benton's DUI charge.

Robert Bregenzer Held on $500K Bail in DUI Deaths

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is bad, but killing someone while driving drunk is even worse.

A man is being held on $500,000 bail after he allegedly caused a crash that killed two others. The crash happened on November 13 on St. Vincent Street right after midnight, reports The Philadelphia Daily News.

The driver has been identified as Robert Bregenzer, 33, of Knorr Street. He has been charged in the deaths of Liang Pan and Zhuoru Chin.

It certainly must be true that the instinct of a parent is to save their child at any cost. Such was the fate of a father on Roosevelt Boulevard Wednesday night.

This father, Michael Romano, lost his life saving his son from a driver, Roderick Williams, who was allegedly driving drunk down Roosevelt, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Romano was able to push his son out of the way, but was not able to move fast enough to get out of the way himself. Officials say that Romano and his son were trying to cross without a crosswalk when the incident happened.

Williams has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and DUI after leaving the scene of the accident and being stopped by an off-duty officer who witnessed the incident.

DUI Driver That Caused Death after 'Beef and Beer' Gets 5-10 Years

In February 2011, Leroy Johnson was arrested for DUI after doing a U-turn on Broad Street after a “beef and beer” event, hitting a SUV that careened out of control into a couple on the sidewalk, killing one of them and seriously injuring the other, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Johnson was found to have a 0.20% blood alcohol content at the time of the accident, well over twice the legal limit.

Last week, Johnson was sentenced to 5-10 years in prison on charges of homicide by motor vehicle while driving under the influence and aggravated assault by vehicle, according to the Inquirer. Once the prison term is finished, Johnson will be subject to four years of court-monitored probation that includes mandatory drug and alcohol testing and treatment.

Man Who Caused Horsham DUI Pedestrian Death Gets Under 2 Years

People don’t seem to realize that public safety laws are made for just that, public safety. Speed limits, car inspections, and DUI laws are all on the books to try and limit the number of people injured or killed while driving or just existing near a road.

These principles are well illustrated by Donald Dinkins III, who in January was speeding 14 miles per hour over the limit, intoxicated on marijuana, and driving a car that had failed inspection with a special note from the mechanic that the car “should not be driven.” While Dinkins was breaking these public safety laws, he failed to avoid Sharon Ann Minnick as she attempted to cross the road, causing another pedestrian death in Horsham, according to

Man Gets Max Sentence, Pleads Guilty to DUI Bicyclist Death

In the fall of 2011, Bucks County resident, Brett Truskin, back on the road driving his RAV4 after being arrested for causing a three-car pileup on I-95 when he hit Gregory Loper head on. He then crashed into four parked cars and one occupied car, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Loper was riding a bicycle and was killed.

Truskin's attorney stated that Truskin had a heroin problem and had used before the accident, reports the Inquirer. Truskin already pleaded guilty to simple assault for hitting the occupied car, and was remorseful in his apology to the Loper family. Part of Truskin's plea deal was agreeing to the maximum sentence.

What was the benefit of Truskin's plea deal?

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.

DUI in Rehoboth Kills Cyclist

Summer is truly upon us. Not only has Anderson Sotomayor finally been locked up after 6 DUIs, but now there are more reports of summertime DUIs. The most recent report comes from Rehoboth, on the Delaware coast.

Over the first weekend of July, Brian Meegan originally of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was driving his jeep under the influence, when he hit Russell Henman of Snow Hill, Maryland, reports NBC10. Meegan reportedly careened into Henman as he rode his bicycle on Coastal Highway. The crash threw Henman onto Meegan's hood, where he stayed for around 400 feet until the Jeep hit a curb and threw him off.

Off-Duty Trooper Kills Woman in DUI after DUI Victim Memorial

In a biting example of irony, a Pennsylvania state trooper has been charged with DUI homicide by vehicle after being involved in an accident while off-duty on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on May 18th, according to WPVI-TV. Trooper Barry Searfoss had been attending a golf outing in memory of Phebe Blessington, who had been killed by a drunk driver in 1997, according to NBC10.

Searfoss allegedly had a blood alcohol level of  .188, over twice the legal limit of .08, reported NBC10. On the night of the accident, Robin Williams, a North Philadelphia woman, was driving around 11 to 16 miles per hour, likely because of her car breaking down, when Searfoss rear ended her around 71 to 76 miles per hour. The impact caused Williams' car to burst into flames, which killed the 21-year-old.

DUI Leaves One Underwater and One Up a Creek

In Montgomery County another tragedy has been caused by a DUI. According to WPVI-TV, Howard Christy II was arrested recently for allegedly flipping his car into the Perkiomen Creek while drunk, killing the passenger who was trapped underwater.

At the time of the accident, Christy’s license had been suspended. Afterwards, Christy was treated at the hospital for hypothermia and other injuries, where his blood alcohol content was measured at .12 percent 12 hours after the crash, reports CBS Philly. A open bottle of vodka was found floating near the car.