The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 18, 2013

Teenage driver faces vehicular homicide counts in crash

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

SHAMOKIN — An 18-year-old city man faces two counts of homicide by vehicle after the car he was driving while drunk and high crashed into trees, rolled and pinned one of his passengers to death in June, state police at Stonington said Thursday.

Troopers allege Kyle Koontz was under the influence during the accident that killed one of his three passengers — David William Dorsett, 19, of Coal Township — at 9 a.m. June 14.

Koontz was driving a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria west on Anthracite Road in Northumberland County’s Zerbe Township, on a stretch known as “Dead Man’s Curve” near Shingara Road.

Anthracite Road is a single-lane dirt road, police said.

Koontz was traveling at a high rate of speed, failed to negotiate a left curve and lost control of the vehicle, troopers said. Koontz’s car slid across the road, struck a ditch, spun 180 degrees and hit several small trees.

As the vehicle rotated, Dorsett was partially ejected through the right-front passenger window, according to court documents.

As the Ford returned to the road, the right side of its undercarriage gouged an embankment, causing the Crown Victoria to barrel-roll. The Ford hit the ground with its right-side tires, bounced and landed on its roof in the middle of the road, pinning Dorsett underneath, troopers said.

At 9:30 a.m., Northumberland County Coroner James Kelley pronounced Dorsett dead at the scene.

Police said they spoke to Koontz, who said he and his friends were returning from a camping trip in the mountains the night before. After the crash he and the other passengers began to climb out of the car through the windows, court documents said.

Koontz told police he saw Dorsett under the vehicle but there was nothing he could do to help him, court documents said.

Dorsett was not wearing a seat belt, troopers said.

During the interview, police noticed Koontz’s slurred and sluggish speech and smelled alcohol, court documents said.

Koontz told police he had been drinking and smoked a small amount of marijuana at approximately 4 a.m., court documents said.

Koontz was arrested and taken to Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital for testing, police said.

Koontz was charged with felony counts of homicide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence and misdemeanor counts of involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person and driving while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance.

Koontz and passengers Brett J. Case, 19, of Coal Township, and a 17- and 16-year-old, whose names were not disclosed by police because of their ages, all suffered minor injuries.

Koontz appeared before District Judge John Gembic, and was released on $20,000 unsecured bail.

Koontz is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in front of Gembic at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 22.