Langhorne Chief Assisting in Deadly Thanksgiving Eve Crash Investigation
A Bucks County reconstruction specialist, who also the police chief in Langhorne Borough, is investigating whether speed was a factor in Wednesday night's fatal crash on the Rt. 611 Bypass in Doylestown.
Langhorne Borough Chief of Police Steven Mawhinney is helping authorities in Doylestown put together the pieces of a deadly car accident that claimed the life of a child Thursday evening.
Investigators from the Bucks County District Attorney's office spent Wednesday night and Thursday morning at the crash scene on Rt. 611 in Doylestown. They are reconstructing events and documenting evidence in preparation for what is expected to be criminal charges against the driver of a Ford Mustang.
The wreckage from the fatal crash remained strewn along the roadway for hundreds of yards. That, and the damage to sustained to both involved vehicles, led authorities to treat the crash scene as a crime scene.
"The Mustang is smashed square across the front, and the Honda is dramatically crushed from the rear," District Attorney David Heckler said Thursday morning. "It suggests that the Mustang hit the Honda at a high rate of speed."
Two vehicles crashed on the Rt. 611 Bypass at 6:46 p.m. Wednesday.
A Pipersville girl (conflicting reports put her age at 7 or 10) who was riding in the Honda was pronounced dead at the scene. Her grandmother, who was driving the car, was in "extremely critical condition."
The 32-year-old male driver of the Mustang and his female passenger were in serious condition at Abington Memorial Hospital after the crash.
Assistant District Attorney Robert James is directing the investigation for Heckler's office. He heads the office's homicide by vehicle division, Heckler said.
James and a team of investigators including crash reconstructionist Mawhinney were at the scene late Wednesday and early Thursday, taking measurements and photographs, Heckler said.
A Bucks County detective videotaped the entire extent of the expansive crash scene from the ground, and investigators are planning to get another tape of it from the air.
"We are going to keep the road closed until after 2 this afternoon, because state police will come down and take a video so the jury can get an overview of what they’re looking at," Heckler said. "Then presumably we’ll be able to impound the vehicles for further investigation and clean up and reopen the road."
The crash scene extends hundreds of yards from the point where the two vehicles collided to the points where they each came to rest, Heckler said, estimating the scene at "several football fields" in length.
Leading the scene reconstruction will be Mawhinney, who previously was a sergeant with Bristol Township police before becoming Langhorne Borough's police chief in 2011.
Mawhinney, who lives in Lower Southampton, is one of only a few accident reconstruction experts in the Philadelphia region credentialed by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction.
"I place great confidence in his opinions," Heckler said.