Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Douglass Township police Chief Barry L. Templin Jr. have announced the arrest of Howard Christy II for homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, accidents involving personal injury or death while not properly licensed, homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, driver required to be licensed, reckless driving, careless driving and driving on roadways laned for traffic.
The charges stem from a fatal crash where the lone passenger in the vehicle died. Investigation revealed that the defendant was the driver of the vehicle at the time of the crash and that the crash occurred between 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. in the early morning of April 29, 2012.
On Sunday morning, April 29, at approximately 10:45 a.m., a local resident walked along Paper Mill Road in Barto, Douglass Township, with his sons and nephew.
While walking, one of the man’s sons walked ahead and discovered a 1998 Pontiac Sunfire in the West Branch of the Perkiomen Creek.
The car was upside-down in the creek and partially submerged. The local resident entered the creek, managed to open the passenger side rear door and pulled the defendant from the car.
He pulled the defendant out of the water, onto the bank of the Perkiomen Creek. The resident sent his sons to call 911 for emergency assistance.
At approximately 10:56 a.m., members of the Douglass Township Police Department arrived on the scene of the crash.
In addition to police, the Gilbertsville Fire Department arrived on scene. The firefighters entered the creek and extracted the victim and lone passenger, Etinye Usoro, from the car.
Etinye Usoro was seated in the front passenger seat and was still wearing his seatbelt when Gilbertsville Fire Department personnel removed him from the vehicle. While removing the victim from the car, a partially full bottle of vodka floated out of the car.
On May 24, 2012, the Montgomery County Coroner determined that Etinye Osoro died from drowning as a result of the crash.
The vehicle was removed from the Perkiomen Creek and later inspected. A licensed inspection mechanic and post-crash inspector indicated that no mechanical failures or defects existed in the car that would have contributed to the crash.
Emergency personnel transported the defendant to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where the defendant was treated for hypothermia and other injuries. Hospital staff drew blood from the defendant. Investigators sent that blood for forensic toxicological testing, which revealed that the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration of .12 percent, nearly twelve hours after the crash. The forensic toxicologist determined that at the time of the crash, the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration would have far exceeded .08 percent.
She further stated that to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty that at the time of the crash the defendant’s alertness, judgment, perception, coordination, response time and sense of care and caution were impaired to the point of rendering the defendant unfit to operate safely a motor vehicle as a result of drinking alcohol and ingesting marijuana.
Investigators also discovered that the defendant did not possess a valid driver’s license at the time of the crash. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Howard Christy II has a photo ID only.
The defendant was scheduled to be arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Maurice Saylor. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Matthew Quigg and Colleen McIntyre.