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Truck Driver Charged in July 31 Death of 67-Year-Old Woman

August 21, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Robert D. James, 215.348.6332, rdjames@buckscounty.org

Thomas Everitt
     Thomas J. Everitt

A Kintnersville man was charged today with killing a 67-year-old Bethlehem woman and severely injuring her 6-year-old grandson after running a red light July 31 in Plumsteadville.

Thomas J. Everitt, 38, of the 200 block of Church Hill Road, was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Gary Gambardella on charges of homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, failing to stop for a red light and driving at an unsafe speed.

He was released on $100,000 unsecured bail, and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing August 30 before Gambardella.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Everitt was traveling north at 50 miles per hour and talking on his cell phone when he drove his Dodge Ram 4500 dump truck through a traffic light at 611 and Old Easton Road that had been red for at least 11 seconds.

The truck collided with a Dodge Caravan, driven by Laura Oswald of Bethlehem, that was turning left from southbound 611 onto Old Easton Road. The van, struck broadside, was pushed off the road, over a curb, and into a utility pole, the affidavit said.

The impact killed Oswald’s mother, Jeanette Campbell of Bethlehem, who was trapped inside the van and pronounced dead at the scene.

Severely injured was Oswald’s 6-year-old son, who was knocked unconscious and suffered skull and jaw fractures, the affidavit said. He was taken to Abington Hospital, then transferred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for treatment.

Two other children in the van, ages 3 and 8, were taken by ambulance to Abington Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries and released. Everitt and his 8-year-old son were treated at Doylestown Hospital for injuries and released.

Video from a nearby surveillance camera showed that the van had come to a complete stop at the traffic signal, the affidavit said. A witness told police that the van had a green left-turn signal when it began making the turn from 611 onto Old Easton Road.

Crash investigators determined that Everitt did not brake until less than a half-second before impact, the affidavit said.

Interviewed at the Doylestown Hospital emergency room, Everitt told investigatros he was “almost positive my light was green” before the crash and that he felt as if he “stood on the brakes” to avoid the collision, the affidavit said.

Everitt told police he believes he was listening to music on his phone prior to the crash, the affidavit said, but an examination of his phone showed he was on the phone with an employee.

The crash was investigated by the Plumstead Township Police Department, the Bucks County Detectives and the District Attorney’s Crash Investigation Team.

The case has been assigned for prosecution to Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James, chief of the Homicide by Vehicle Division.

Criminal charges are allegations subject to proof in court. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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