Southeastern PA

Telford man, 21, charged in deadly Franconia Twp. crash

The crash left an 86-year-old woman dead

FRANCONIA TWP., Pa. - The Montgomery County District Attorney announced Monday the arrest of the man who crashed into a Franconia Township home in early April, killing an elderly woman. 

Joseph Bezanis, 21, of Telford, is facing charges of homicide by vehicle DUI, Reckless Endangerment of Other Persons and related charges. 

Toxicology results on Bezanis revealed a blood alcohol content of .172 percent, more than two times the legal limit, and the presence of THC, a component of marijuana.

An investigation revealed the car was traveling westbound on Harleysville Pike just after midnight on April 6 and failed to navigate a curve in the roadway. The vehicle then jumped the curve into the lawn and continued across three lawns, traveling nearly 540 feet before becoming airborne and "vaulting 21 feet into the side wall of the house."

Officials say there were no signs of steering by Bezanis, and no signs of braking. However, signs of acceleration showed as the car proceeded deeper into the lawns.

No mechanical problems were discovered with the vehicle and an analysis indicated Bezanis was traveling at a minimum speed of 83 miles per hour. The speed limit is 40 miles per hour. 

The crash trapped an 86-year-old woman as the car went through the house's first-floor bedroom. Crews worked to free her but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials say the direct cause of the crash was related to the combination of Bezanis' level of impairment and the speed he was traveling. 

Bezanis was arraigned Monday with bail set at $100,000. He is not allowed to operate a vehicle or to consume alcohol or a controlled substance. 

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 30.


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