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Suspect in DUI vehicular homicide is allowed to drive again

At 5:32 p.m. on April 19, one family's life was turned upside down. A woman was driving on Limekiln Pike around 5:30 p.m. that Tuesday. At the same time, a 56-year-old former Philadelphia police officer was driving down the same road. However, the former officer had a blood-alcohol level that was almost three times the legal limit.

Police suspect the former officer crossed the road's centerline at 5:32 p.m. that day. After also traversing the rumble strips, he drove straight into an oncoming vehicle, driven by a 50-year-old East Rockhill woman. The drunk driving accident left the woman trapped in her demolished Camry. She was removed from the wreckage and rushed to Temple University Hospital, where her family's worst nightmare was confirmed. She was pronounced dead.

The 56-year-old drunk driver was arrested following the crash. Two hours after the collision, police reported that his blood-alcohol content was 0.225 percent. The legal limit in Pennsylvania is .08. Despite this, the man has been allowed back on the road. His motion to be able to drive to and from work was granted by a judge last month.

The man was put into custody with a $100,000 bail and was released after posting the required 10 percent. When he was arrested, he gave up his passport and his license. However, based on the argument that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the judge reinstated his driver's license. He is now allowed to drive to and from work at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. three days a week.

The defendant will be facing charges of vehicular homicide, DUI, manslaughter, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and possibly others. If he is caught driving at any time other than his allowed times or if he fails one of his random urine tests, he will be imprisoned again.

Source: phillyburbs.com, "Driver in fatal DUI allowed back on the road," Matt Coughlin, 11 July 2011

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Gregory R. Gifford
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