NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A 62-year-old man has been charged with homicide by vehicle in a crash that left a 57-year-old woman dead in Montgomery County. The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office charged John Rufe, of North Wales, with homicide by vehicle, DUI and other related charges in the death of Margaret Ann Berman, of Trappe, Pennsylvania.
Collegeville officials responded to a crash involving a 2018 Ford Mustang and a Range Rover at Main Street and Clamer Avenue on Nov. 6 just before 9:15 p.m.
Officials say both the driver of the Mustang, Rufe and his passenger, Berman, were trapped and had to be extricated from the vehicle.
Berman was transported to an area hospital before being flown by helicopter to Einstein Hospital in Philadelphia where she was later pronounced dead.
Rufe was transported to an area hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
The three occupants inside the Range Rover suffered minor injuries.
An investigation found the Range Rover was traveling east on Main Street when the Mustang, driven by Rufe, turned left from a restaurant on the 400 block of Main Street into the westbound lane of Main Street at a high rate of speed.
The heavy acceleration applied by Rufe continued as the Mustang proceeded into a slight curve in the roadway, causing the Mustang to lose traction and slide counter-clockwise.
It spun into the eastbound lane facing south when it was struck directly on the passenger sided door by the Range Rover.
Investigators retrieved data from the Mustang’s Airbag Control Module which revealed 1.5 seconds before the crash the vehicle was traveling 55.7 miles per hour, where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour. No brakes were applied until one second before impact with the Range Rover.
The report also showed that the vehicle’s traction control system — which automatically turns on upon ignition in order to prevent the vehicle from going into a spinning side slide during acceleration — had been manually turned off.
The toxicology test showed Rufe’s blood alcohol level was .132%.
The investigation determined that Rufe’s level of impairment, as well as the speed and manner in which he was operating the Mustang, was the cause of the crash that killed Berman and endangered the three people inside the Range Rover.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 22 at 9:15 a.m.
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