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Drunken Driver Who Injured Elderly Cyclist is Sent to State Prison

June 16, 2017

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

Timothy Babbitt
    Timothy Babbitt

A New Jersey man who drunkenly crashed his work van into a 67-year-old motorcyclist last fall, seriously injuring her, was sentenced this morning to serve 15 to 30 months in state prison.

Timothy J. Babbitt, 39, of Shamong, NJ, had completed a substance abuse rehabilitation program only three months before the crash occurred.

“That I cannot ignore,” Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. told Babbitt before imposing the sentence.

Babbitt pleaded guilty on March 30 to charges including aggravated assault while driving under the influence in the Oct. 11 collision that left Vicky Mazzocca of Warminster, now 68, with debilitating injuries.

Babbitt’s blood alcohol concentration was .269 percent, more than three times the legal limit, after his Ford Econoline van plowed into the rear of Mazzocca’s motorcycle shortly after 3 p.m. on southbound Route 611 in Doylestown Township.

Babbitt had just begun the 1.5-hour drive home after consuming six alcoholic drinks – three of them double-vodkas – over lunch at an Ottsville bar and grill. With him, in the console of his van, was a Gatorade bottle containing yet another alcoholic beverage.

Babbitt was in Bucks County for an installation job for his employer, a New Jersey telecommunications contractor, and was still on duty when the crash occurred.

The impact threw Mazzocca from her motorcycle, lodging her under the bumper as it dragged her 20 feet. She suffered a fractured femur, a crushed pelvis and other serious injuries, has undergone multiple surgeries, and remains unable to walk unassisted.

Her pain, she testified, is chronic and at times excruciating. A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, she said she fears she will never be able to ride again – and for now is unable even to put on her own socks without help.

“It’s just been an ordeal for me to try to get through life,” Mazzocca said in court. “My surgeon told me, “You are never going to be normal again,’ and that is very upsetting to me.”

Mazzocca said she had seen Babbitt’s van in her rearview mirror, swerving on and off the shoulder. Thinking him drunk or distracted by his phone, she tried unsuccessfully to get out of his way, she said.

“As far as I’m concerned, that man was a loaded weapon going down 611 that day,” her husband, Anthony Mazzocca told Bateman. “I’m afraid someday he’s going to kill somebody and we, as a group, have to find a way to stop it.”

A presentence investigation determined that Babbitt, while having no prior criminal record, has had a drinking problem since age 15. By the time of the crash, his wife had left him, fed up with his drinking, and his house was facing foreclosure, his attorney said.

A co-worker at lunch tried to persuade Babbitt from drinking so much, noting that he would have to drive home, but was waved off. “The defendant told him not to worry about it,” said Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James, who prosecuted the case.

“Now Mr. and Mrs. Mazzocca have to worry about it for the rest of their lives,” James said. “You work all your life toward retirement and then, in the first year you’re retired, this man takes it all away.”

James said the case “isn’t about alcoholism. It’s about choices … He decided to go drink and drive while on the job.”

Babbitt did not dispute that. He apologized profusely to Mazzocca and her loved ones, who packed one side of the courtroom.

“I can’t even answer to myself why I did that. It’s unfathomable to me. I’m so sorry,” he said. “Everybody who’s in this courtroom is here because I made the irresponsible decision to go into that bar and drink like a jerk that day.”

Investigators found no evidence of mechanical or weather issues that would have contributed to the collision.

“I do believe you have accepted responsibility to a large degree,” Bateman told Babbitt. “What is inexplicable is that it took this tragedy for you to come to the realization that you had a substance abuse problem, the depths of which only you could know.”

In addition to the prison sentence, Bateman placed Babbitt on a concurrent four years of probation.

The case was investigated by police from Doylestown Township and the Bucks County Homicide by Vehicle Task Force. 

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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