Shamokin teen pleads guilty to charges involving friend's death
SUNBURY — A Shamokin teen charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence in a June 2012 accident that killed his friend pleaded guilty Friday morning to involuntary manslaughter, DUI and reckless driving.
Kyle Lynn Koontz, of 130 S. Market St., will be sentenced at 9:15 a.m. July 29, at which time it’s expected he may get 90 days in jail and six months of house arrest, although the exact sentencing won’t be known until that time.
The crash on Anthracite Road in Zerbe Township on June 14 of last year killed David W. Dorsett, 19, of Coal Township. Family members of the deceased were in court Friday morning.
Koontz was initially charged by state police at Stonington with felony offenses of aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI and homicide by vehicle, misdemeanor counts of DUI of alcohol or a controlled substance, involuntary manslaughter and recklessly endangering another person, and summary violations of careless driving and reckless driving.
The crash took place nine days after Koontz and Dorsett graduated from Shamokin Area High School.
Koontz told police he drank a couple of beers and smoked a small amount of marijuana about five hours before the crash near Trevorton. According to an affidavit of probable cause, Koontz was driving west in a 1998 Crown Victoria on Anthracite Road, a one-lane, dirt road readily accessible via Route 2044, while he and his friends were returning from camping in the mountains the night before.
Police said Koontz was speeding when he failed to negotiate a left turn and the car began to slide. Koontz counter-steered to try to regain control, but that action, police said, caused the car to slide back across the road.
Koontz told police he was trying to regain control when he “hit something hard,” which threw the vehicle out of control.
The car went off the north side of the road and hit a ditch with its right front corner, causing it to spin clockwise and strike several small trees. Dorsett, sitting in the front passenger seat and not wearing a seat belt, was partially ejected at that point, police said. The car then went into a barrel roll and landed on its roof in the middle of the road, pinning Dorsett underneath.
He was pronounced dead at the scene by Northumberland County Coroner James Kelley. An autopsy determined the cause of death as craniocerebral injuries, which Kelley said were suffered in the rollover.
Koontz and the other passengers, Brett J. Case, of Coal Township, a 17-year-old Shamokin male and a 16-year-old Coal Township male, crawled out through the car’s windows.
Further details on Friday’s proceeding will be reported in Saturday’s print and online editions.