A Lancaster driver was recently sentenced for drinking before causing a highway crash last year that seriously injured a 70-year-old man.
Tate R. Simmons will serve 6.5 months on house-arrest – with electronic monitoring – and the following 5 months in Lancaster County Prison. Those terms will be followed by about a year of parole and 4 years of probation.
Simmons, 35, was drinking with co-workers June 6, 2014, before getting behind the wheel and striking Paul Wagner’s vehicle on Route 283 in East Hempfield Township. Testing showed Simmons had a blood-alcohol level of .198 percent, more than twice the state’s legal limit for drivers.
Wagner sustained a brain injury, along with other injuries, and spent two weeks in a hospital.
(See Twitter feed for photos of the wreckage: @BrettHambright)
A local jury convicted Simmons in August of aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI and related counts. Assistant District Attorney Ande Gonzalez won the conviction.
Lancaster County Judge David Ashworth allowed Simmons to serve the initial house-arrest term, rather than prison, because Simmons’ wife is pregnant and the judge didn’t want to punish the woman and child for Simmons’ actions.
Simmons doesn’t have a prior criminal record.
Gonzalez said if Wagner was driving a smaller vehicle he likely would’ve been killed.
Both vehicles – Wagner’s Dodge SUV and Simmons’ truck – were totaled in the crash.
Simmons must also undergo drug/alcohol treatment and performed 150 hours of community service, educating the public about the dangers of impaired driving, Ashworth ordered.
East Hempfield police Officer Adam Meeder filed charges.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright