NORRISTOWN – An off-duty Pennsylvania State Police trooper is now facing charges in Montgomery County Court. It was allegedly that he drove drunk and hit another car, killing a woman on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Upper Dublin.
On Monday, Barry M. Searfoss Jr., 41, of Coatesville, Chester County, will face District Court Judge Patricia Zaffarano’s Ambler office. He has filed paperwork waiving his preliminary hearing, scheduled for Tuesday. Searfoss remains free on $5,000 bail but he has now to face a formal arraignment on the charges in county court last September.
As Searfoss had been charged with homicide by vehicle while driving DUI, he is not allowed to drive or drink alcohol. Deputy District Attorney Christopher Maloney is the prosecutor of the case.
The charges alleged that on May 18, Searfoss was drinking all day during a golf outing which was a fund raising youth scholarships in honor of a girl who was killed by a drunken driver in 1997. Searfoss was at the golf tournament around 11:30 a.m. although the crash took place just before 10 p.m., as he was driving home, according to court documents.
Searfoss had been drinking for nine hours in his 2003 Toyota Tacoma when he headed home from the 11th annual “Bump and Run Golf Event” in Bucks County. Tests showed that Searfoss had a blood-alcohol content of 0.188 percent, which is above the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent, at the time of the crash.
The affidavit also showed that Searfoss, of the 400 block of Gavin Drive in Coatesville, was over speeding at approximately 71 to 76 miles per hour when his truck slammed into the rear of the car of 21-year-old Robin Taneisha Williams of Philadelphia. Before the crash, Williams’ 1997 Lincoln Town Car had reportedly suffered a mechanical failure and was in the process of slowing to a stop.
A witness and motorist saw an explosion from Williams’ vehicle when it was struck by Searfoss’ vehicle.
Williams was driving at a speed of 11 to 16 miles an hour at the left lane heading west when Searfoss rear-ended the car. An autopsy determined Williams died of multiple blunt force trauma, thermal burns and smoke inhalation.
At the scene of the tragedy, Searfoss was described as “wobbly” and “somewhat out of it” by responding officers.
After the accident, Searfoss was suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal charges. He had been with the Pennsylvania State Police for 11 years at the time of his arrest.
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