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Drunken Driver Gets State Time for Crash That Disabled Woman

January 19, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jonathan Long, 215.348.6351, jrlong@buckscounty.org

A Philadelphia woman was sentenced today to serve 15 to 30 months in state prison for a drunken-driving crash in 2014 that severely injured and permanently disabled a 67-year-old grandmother of three.

Jaime Lynn Pietzsch, 34, had pleaded guilty on Nov. 11 to charges including aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence.  

A year earlier, on Dec. 10, 2014, Pietzsch was driving drunk at a high rate of speed when her Volkswagen Jetta rear-ended the victim’s Toyota Camry, which was stopping at a traffic light on Lincoln Highway near the Oxford Valley Mall in Middletown Township.

The impact drove the Toyota over the center median and into an oncoming vehicle. The driver of the Toyota, Julia Mielcarz, suffered life-threatening head injuries and multiple broken bones.

Pietzsch was found to have had a blood alcohol level of .276 percent, as well as THC in her blood from smoking marijuana. She told police that she had consumed two beers and two shots of whiskey prior to the crash.

Mielcarz continues to suffer from memory loss, debilitating injuries, and loss of balance despite nearly six months of hospitalization, rehabilitation and assisted-living care. A former professional baker, she no longer can drive, walk unassisted, hold her grandchildren or make the cookies and pastries for which she was renowned in the Polish-American community.

“I do not recall anything from the accident; however, what has changed is my life,”  Mielcarz, speaking through an interpreter, told Bucks County Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. “I’m trying to come back to the life I had before.”

Mielcarz’s daughter, Marta Johnson, told Bateman that her mother seems 15 years older than the spry, vibrant woman she had been before the collision, and “is permanently on house arrest” because of her dependence on others to get around.

Pietzsch told Bateman that her behavior was “completely inexcusable” and “something that I’m going to carry with me for the rest of my life.” She said she stopped drinking 13 months ago, has been attending regular AA meetings and counseling sessions, and would like to go back to college to become a drug and alcohol counselor.

Bateman, however, said he did not believe that a defense request for a county prison sentence and house arrest was appropriate under the circumstances. He also cast doubt on Pietzsch’s claim that her high level of intoxication had come from just four drinks. “I think we’re all owed a little more explanation for what happened,” the judge said.

In addition to the 15- to 30-month sentence, Bateman fined Pietzsch $1,000, ordered her to pay $2,020.06 in restitution, and gave her a concurrent three- to six-month sentence for driving under the influence.

Approved for release by Daniel B. Sweeney, Deputy District Attorney.

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