By Tony Hanson and Ileana Diaz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A man charged in the death of a Philadelphia police officer last year in a gruesome crash on I-95 has decided to plead guilty.

The attorney for defendant John Leck Jr. this morning informed the judge in a Philadelphia  courtroom that his client would plead guilty to the murder of officer Brian Lorenzo, who was killed in July of last year when his motorcycle was hit head-on by the car Leck was driving in the wrong direction on Interstate 95 near Cottman Avenue (see related story).

The attorney indicated that Leck, 48, of Bucks County, would plead guilty to third-degree murder and other offenses.  Leck’s plea will be “open,” which means that it is not in exchange for a reduced sentence.  The penalty will be up to the judge; a sentencing hearing was set for December 2nd.

Leck had a blood alcohol level, according to authorities, 2½ times the legal limit when the crash occurred (see related story).  A witness testified after the crash that it was like an explosion when Officer Lorenzo’s motorcycle was hit.

Leck’s case was about to go to trial.  Philadelphia police union president John McNesby was elated.

“Other than bringing Brian back, this is the most positive outcome that could ever happen to that tragedy,” he said today.  “It saves the family a lot of anguish, a lot of stress of a trial, and hopefully on December second the judge will really throw the book at him, put him away.”

Leck faces a maximum sentence of 25-50 years in prison.

Officer Lorenzo’s daughter confirms her family will be present for Leck’s sentencing.