Comments Off on Jacob Harvey, 25, of Shickshinny, smoked Methamphetamine before causing fatal crash on Lee Road in Conyngham Township

A Shickshinny man admitted he smoked methamphetamine shortly before he caused a fatal car crash in February, police say.

Jacob Harvey, 25, was arraigned Wednesday before Magisterial District Judge John Hasay on charges of homicide by vehicle while DUI, aggravated assault by vehicle and DUI.

Harvey was involved in a violent two-vehicle accident on Lee Road in Conyngham Township shortly after 11 a.m. on Feb. 8, according to state police at Shickshinny.

Harvey’s eastbound Ford Ranger crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a westbound Mitsubishi Galant driven by Matthew Ruch, who later died of injuries from the accident, police said in a criminal complaint.

According to the complaint:

A trooper responded to a report of a vehicle on fire following a crash. The trooper found two smoldering, badly damaged vehicles and saw Ruch lying in the road as medical crews attended to him.

Police credited a passing motorist, Wayne Chonko, with pulling the occupants of both vehicles to safety.

Harvey, when questioned by police, said he did not remember what happened. Matthew Ruch’s daughter, Rachel Ruch, a passenger in the Mitsubishi, also said she could not remember.

Matthew Ruch was air-lifted to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.

At the hospital, police interviewed Harvey again.

When asked if he had taken drugs or alcohol, Harvey said he smoked “meth” prior to the crash, and a trooper noticed that Harvey’s pupils were dilated.

Harvey consented to a chemical test of his blood. Test results showed he had amphetamines, cannabinoids and morphine or codeine in his system, according to police.

Rachel Ruch suffered broken bones and post-concussion syndrome, police said.

Matthew Ruch died of crash-related injuries on March 30, according to police.

The Luzerne County Coroner’s Office ruled Ruch’s death a homicide, caused by multiple traumatic injuries due to a motor vehicle accident.

Following his arraignment, Harvey was sent to Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $15,000 bail. A preliminary hearing before Hasay is scheduled for May 13.

Court papers do not provide age or address information for Matthew and Rachel Ruch.

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