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DUI Motorist Who Hurt Motorcyclist and Fled is Sent to State Prison

December 17, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: William Murphy, 215.348.6334, wrmurphy@buckscounty.org

A Croydon woman who left the scene after striking and injuring a motorcyclist with her car was sentenced Wednesday to serve one and one-half to five years in state prison.

“You’re a human being. And (the victim) is a human being,” President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley told Sarah Dawn Hurd before imposing the sentence. “And you left him lying in the road.”

Hurd, 37, a mother of three small children, was driving without a license and had recently used cocaine at the time of the July 22, 2015, crash. She told Finley that she panicked and fled after striking a motorcycle ridden by Joseph Simpson, 46, of Bristol Township.

Hurd had pleaded guilty on Sept. 15 to aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, as well as a number of lesser charges. 

“I have compassion and a heart,” she told Finley. “It’s really out of character for me.”

Her drug abuse, however, was not out of character. Hurd had three prior drug possession convictions and a conviction for possession with intent to deliver, Assistant District Attorney William Murphy said.

“I know addiction is a disease,” Murphy said, “but she knows the dangers better than most of us do.”

Simpson, who suffered a fractured tibia and fibula, was assisted by passersby who summoned police and medical help. He attended Hurd’s sentencing but chose not to speak.

Hurd was arguing with her mother on a hands-free Bluetooth device when she turned left into Simpson’s path at Fourth Avenue and State Road in Croydon. The impact broke off a piece of her vehicle’s bumper and threw Simpson from his motorcycle.

Hurd sped away on Fourth Avenue without checking on Simpson’s condition. Police found her damaged Nissan Altima in the 100 block of Second Avenue, and located Hurd, upset and kneeling in a parking lot, across the street from a bar on Route 13.

In court Wednesday, Hurd told Finley that she fled out of panic. “I just kept going,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do.”

“Leaving him for dead?” Finley asked.

“I guess so,” Hurd said.

Her actions, Finley said, showed “a lack of humanity ... It’s a tough one to swallow.”

Blood tests showed that Hurd had used cocaine not long before the crash. “The damage in this case was compounded by the defendant’s actions,” Murphy said, noting that Hurd never should have been driving because she didn’t have a license.

Hurd apologized to Simpson in court. “I am sorry for all the harm I have caused to you and your family,” she said, adding that she was in treatment for drug and mental health issues in an effort to change.

“I was scared,” she told Simpson. “I didn’t have a license. I’ve never had a license.”

Defense attorney Ellis Klein presented testimony that Hurd, who suffers from depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, attends counseling and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings several times per week. Klein asked that she be given a county prison sentence so that she could be closer to her children, ages 8, 7 and 8 months.

“I can’t do that,” Finley said. “I can’t in good conscience do that.”

The judge acknowledged that the crash was not intentional, and that Hurd has made significant progress toward rehabilitating herself. But he also pointed out that she had four previous drug-related convictions, had already served time in county prison, and still chose to drive without a license after using drugs.

Another county sentence would not suffice, Finley said. “You took that option away from me, frankly,” he told Hurd.

In addition to the state prison sentence, Finley placed Hurd on five years of concurrent probation and ordered her to pay $3,864.79 in restitution.

Approved for release by Gregg Shore, Deputy District Attorney.

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Office of the District Attorney
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