EASTON, Pa. - A former police officer was charged Wednesday with two counts of vehicular homicide for allegedly driving drunk and causing a crash that killed two people and injured several others.
Authorities said the truck, driven by John Heaney III, veered into the wrong lane on Route 512 near Bangor, Northampton County, on July 1.
"He was traveling northbound, came around the left bend in the road, crossed over entirely into the southbound lane, striking the group of motorcycles," said Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli.
Two of the motorcycle riders were killed; four others went to area hospitals.
The two men who died, Keith Michaelson, 52, and Michael Zadoyko, 47, both from Passaic County, New Jersey, were members of the Last Chance Motorcycle Club, a group of men recovering from alcohol addictions.
The group was traveling from New Jersey to a fellow member's funeral wake in Monroe County.
Evidence indicated Heaney, 49, a former police officer who lives in Lopatcong Township, New Jersey, was under the influence of alcohol, Morganelli said.
"Officers did note he had an odor of alcohol on his breath, and his eyes appeared to be somewhat blood shot," said Morganelli, who added that a breathalyzer test, which isn't admissible in court, showed Heaney to have a 0.11 blood alcohol level at the scene. That's above the legal limit. Police said Heaney later refused to take a blood test.
"An inference will be drawn by the jury that he refused because he knew he was under the influence of alcohol," Morganelli said.
In addition to homicide by vehicle, charges against Heaney include two counts each of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and involuntary manslaughter, and four counts each of aggravated assault by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, and recklessly endangering another person, according to court documents.
If convicted, Heaney could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison.
Allentown, PA 18102