COLLOMSVILLE - Thursday night's violent two-vehicle crash on Route 44 that landed two men in a hospital intensive care unit was caused by a driver who admitted to "ingesting alcohol, cocaine and Valium less than three hours" before the collision, according to state Trooper Brian Evarts.
Benjamin Davis Jr., 49, of 818 Locust St., Williamsport, has been charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault while driving under the influence of a combination of alcohol and controlled substances as result of the 9:20 p.m. crash at routes 44 and 654 in Limestone Township, Evarts said.
Admitted to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, in critical condition were Davine Coney, 38, also of Williamsport, who was a passenger in Davis' 2008 Toyota Rav 4, and the other driver, Gary A. Weimer, 69, of Mill Hall, according to a nursing supervisor.
PHILIP A. HOLMES/Sun-Gazette
Two men were hospitalized in critical condition with injuries they suffered Thursday night in this crash on Route 44 near Collomsville. The driver of the SUV at left was arrested and jailed on charges of aggravated assault and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, state police said.
Traveling west on Route 654, Davis failed to stop for a stop sign and turned right onto Route 44, Evarts said.
"He took the turn too wide and struck Weimer's southbound 1997 Dodge Ram head-on," Evarts explained
Nippenose Valley Fire Chief Dean Miller said when he arrived on the scene, Weimer and Coney already were out of the vehicles. Volunteer firefighters removed both doors on the driver's side of the Toyota in order to free Davis.
All three men were taken by ambulances initially to Williamsport Regional Medical Center. Weimer and Coney soon were transferred by ambulances to Geisinger. Poor visibility prevented medical helicopters from flying.
While state Trooper Justin Bieber questioned Davis in the hospital's emergency room, he "detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage on the driver's breath," Evarts said in an affidavit. Davis' eyes also were bloodshot, Evarts added.
A preliminary breath test revealed that Davis had alcohol in his system. The investigator said. After he was given his Miranda rights, Davis admitted that he had used alcohol, cocaine and Valium "within three hours before the crash," Evarts said.
After being discharged from the hospital, Davis was arrested and taken to the state police barracks in Montoursville, where he was processed and arraigned via video before District Judge Jerry C. Lepley on the aggravated assault charges as well as two counts of recklessly endangering, one count of driving under the influence of intoxicants and four summary traffic violations, including reckless driving.
Davis, who made no statements during the proceedings, was committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Concerning another crash, Nippenose Valley and Jersey Shore volunteer firefighters responded to a crash in the 3000 block of Rauchtown Road in Clinton County's Crawford Township about 3:30 p.m. Friday.
There were reports that a utility pole sustained heavy damage and a power outage as a result of the crash. No other details were available.