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Homicide by Vehicle Charged in Death of Sheriff's Deputy

May 30, 2017

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

Harry Burak

An East Rockhill man was charged today with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence in the May 16 death of an off-duty Bucks County deputy sheriff.

New charges were filed against Harry J. Burak, 27, after tests showed he had a blood alcohol concentration of .18 percent shortly after the crash that killed Deputy Keith W. Clymer, according to an affidavit of probable cause. That BAC level is more than twice the legal limit for a person operating a motor vehicle in Pennsylvania.

Homicide by vehicle while DUI is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Clymer’s 2006 Honda motorcycle was eastbound on Dublin Pike (Route 313) when Burak pulled his 2017 Dodge Ram 5500 truck into its path, causing the collision, the affidavit states. Burak’s driver’s license had been suspended until at least 2023 because of multiple DUI convictions.

Clymer, 48, of Kintnersville, suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. He had worked as a deputy sheriff in Bucks County since Dec. 30, 2013.

Burak, who was turning into his driveway in the 2400 block of Dublin Pike when the crash occurred, was arrested after struggling with officers at the scene, the affidavit states.

He initially was charged with accidents involving death or bodily injury while not properly licensed, and with driving while his operating license was suspended or revoked, DUI related. In addition to homicide by vehicle while DUI, the new charges include DUI (highest BAC rate), resisting arrest and other related offenses.

Burak has four prior DUI convictions, according to the probable cause affidavit.

He was arraigned today before Magisterial District Judge Charles W. Baum, who set bail at $500,000, 10 percent cash. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 19 before Judge Baum at 705 West Market Street, Perkasie.

After initial charges were filed May 17, further investigation determined that Burak had been drinking at a nearby bar before the crash. Surveillance video from the Wagon Wheel Tavern, 2300 Dublin Pike, showed Burak drinking five beers in one hour and 29 minutes, then buying a six-pack to go before leaving around 6 p.m., the affidavit states.

The fatal collision occurred at 8:30 p.m.

Immediately afterward, the affidavit states, Burak attempted to enter his house against police orders and flailed his arms when an officer tried to detain him. Three officers were required to place him into handcuffs, and even after Burak was placed into a patrol car he kicked the door and tried to flee, according to the affidavit.

Two days later, in a recorded phone call with his girlfriend while he was in the Bucks County Correctional Facility, Burak acknowledged seeing Clymer’s motorcycle approaching when he turned left. The affidavit includes the following excerpt of that conversation:

Burak: “He was speeding in my opinion.”

Girlfriend: “You saw him coming down the road, but you turned because you thought you could make it up the driveway?”

Burak: “Yeah.”

The case is being investigated by the Pennridge Regional Police Department and the Bucks County Detectives, and is being prosecuted by Robert D. James, Chief of the District Attorney’s Homicide by Vehicle Division.

Approved for release by Alan J. Garabedian, Deputy District Attorney.

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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