LEWISTOWN - Homicide charges were bound over to court on Wednesday following a preliminary hearing for a man who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when his car plowed head on into a motorcycle, killing two people.
Carl D. Briggs, 42, is charged with two counts each of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, involuntary manslaughter, DUI, and several summary traffic offenses.
Briggs was driving around 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2011 on U.S. 22/522 near McVeytown. He was driving a 1998 Mercury Mountaineer and hit a motorcycle driven by 64-year-old Bruce E. Kauffman Jr., nearly head on, police said. Kauffman and his wife Judy K. Kauffman, 63, both died at the scene of the accident.
Three people testified during the hearing, including Barry George who said Briggs was passing his car, when he noticed the oncoming motorcycle and attempted to slow down to allow Briggs to get out of the way of the motorcycle.
George said he felt Briggs was about 100 yards away from the motorcycle when he slowed down to allow him to pass more quickly, but the motorcycle and Briggs' vehicle collided.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Stephen Griffith testified he spoke with Briggs at the scene of the accident and Briggs had a "strong odor of alcohol" on his breath.
Griffith said there was no evidence at the scene to suggest Briggs attempted to brake prior to the collision.
Griffith said Briggs admitted he had been drinking beer at a friend's house prior to the crash.
According to court documents, Briggs' blood test showed a blood-alcohol content of .077 percent, which is not in excess of the legal limit of .08. However, an expert for the commonwealth indicated Briggs' BAC at the time of the accident was between .08 and .1084, which is in excess of legal limit.
Dr. J. Ward Donovan testified that using calculations based on the time of the accident and time of the blood test, he could figure an approximation of Briggs' BAC at the time of the accident.
There were no closing arguments offered by Assistant District Attorney David Barron or defense attorney Joe Amendola and Magisterial District Judge Aaron Gingrich bound the case over for trial.
Briggs remains free on $150,000 bail and a formal arraignment has not yet been scheduled.