Posted on Jul 11, 2014
The Lancaster New Era is reporting today about a fatal accident which occurred earlier this week. It appears that the driver who caused the crash had a long history of alcohol related issues. Thomas Gallagher Jr., according to officials and court records, was pressing his luck for years.
His own passengers, it was learned Thursday, were pleading with him to pull over Tuesday prior to a crash in West Lampeter that killed Meredith Demko, a recent high school graduate. On Thursday afternoon, police filed additional charges of vehicular homicide while DUI. Gallagher’s blood-alcohol level was about three times the state’s legal limit at the time of the crash, documents show.
He also used heroin prior to driving, documents show. Tests revealed Gallagher’s blood-alcohol level was between .21 and .26 percent shortly after driving, an arrest affidavit shows. The state’s legal limit for drivers is .08 percent.
Just three weeks ago, District Attorney Craig Stedman said, PennDOT mailed Gallagher a notice that he hasn’t addressed his most recent license suspension. And just three months ago, records show, police charged Gallagher with driving on a suspended license due to the prior DUIs.
It came to a crashing halt Tuesday afternoon when, police reported, Gallagher’s speeding car slammed into an oncoming car on Lampeter Road driven by the 18-year-old Demko. Witnesses reported Gallagher was speeding and swerving prior to the crash. One motorist told police he was driving on the shoulder of the road for about a mile, the affidavit shows.
Demko, who had just graduated in June from Lampeter-Strasburg High School, died at a hospital three hours later. Gallagher, of New Providence, is also charged with causing a fatal crash while on a suspended license, a felony.
He is at Lancaster County Prison on $1.25 million bail.
PennDOT recently sent him two notices — on June 20 and April 4 — regarding his failure to address his current license suspension.
Aside from the DUIs and driving-under-suspension charges, he has underage drinking charges from 2003 and 2005, records show.
None of that stopped him from taking the wheel.
Is there any more that the Commonwealth or authorities can do to prevent these alcohol related crashes?
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