Area man faces charges in deadly vehicle crash

OVAL — When Lavern A. Stover Jr.’s car crashed along Quarry Road two months ago, killing a close friend who was riding in the vehicle, the 54-year-old driver was drunk and under the influence of marijuana, state Trooper Robert Williamson alleged in court papers.

With his attorney by his side, Stover, of 2008 Middle Road, surrendered Monday morning to face charges of involuntary manslaughter, homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence and related offenses stemming from the Aug. 26 crash.

It was his fifth arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicants or a controlled substance, police said.

At the time of the 2:20 p.m. crash in the 2400 block of  Quarry Road, Stover’s blood-alcohol level was 0.27, Williamson said, adding that blood tests also revealed evidence of marijuana in his system.

Killed in the crash was Christopher J. Baier Jr., 51, of Jersey Shore. Both Stover and Baier  were trapped in the 1990 Chevrolet Beretta for 20 minutes after it overturned, landing in a rocky stream.

After being extricated, Stover was taken to the Williamsport Regional Medical Center while Baier was taken to the Jersey Shore Hospital, where he died of his injuries an hour later, Williamson said.

A witness to the crash told police that when she approached the car, Stover told her “not to call the cops,” Williamson wrote in an affidavit.

While en route to the hospital, Stover became “combative” with paramedics, forcing the ambulance driver to pull into the Oval Store parking lot to where Williamson, already on his way to the crash,  was re-directed to help the paramedics get Stover under control.

“While speaking with Stover, I could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath,” the trooper said in his affidavit.

Stover admitted to “consuming six to eight beers prior to driving,” Williamson said.

Stover faces additional charges of possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance (Tramadol), careless driving, reckless driving and related offenses. Following his arraignment before District Judge Jerry C. Lepley, he was released on $100,000 bail.