A Florida woman who was intoxicated during a fatal crash six years ago in East Lampeter Township will not have her conviction overturned.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently denied Patricia Halgash’s appeal, meaning Halgash’s 2016 trial conviction of vehicular homicide while DUI and other charges remains.
Following trial, Halgash was sentenced to 4 to 14½ years in prison.
Halgash drank several “highly alcoholic” drinks before driving on March 13, 2014, when she veered into oncoming traffic on Old Philadelphia Pike, striking a vehicle head-on. Sharon Mulhatten, 71, died in the crash, while her son, Troy Mulhatten, sustained permanent injuries.
Halgash, in her appeal for relief, argued the jury considered prejudicial evidence about her refusal to a blood test, and that her lawyer was ineffective for not objecting to the verdict slip.
The state appellate court denied both arguments, finding that she did not include her first allegation in her initial appeal to the trial court.
Regarding the verdict slip, the Superior Court agreed with the trial court’s assertion: the order of the charges was initially incorrect, but “the instructions given to the jury were proper.”
At sentencing in 2016, a Lancaster County Judge scolded Halgash, 47, for lying under oath during trial and called her actions after the crash “callous.”
Prosecutors presented testimony that Halgash’s concern after the crash was for herself: She went to the Mulhattens’ vehicle, saw the condition of the two occupants, and left them without calling for help. She then lied to police about where she was and what she had to drink.
She told police she had one drink during dinner at a friend’s house. Police determined she had six “highly alcoholic” beers among the drinks she had while at two bars for several hours prior to driving.
Halgash also was under the influence of prescription medications. She told police she had a "cocktail of prescription medication."
East Lampeter Township police Sgt. Bryan Kondras filed charges.
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