Mo­torist apol­o­gizes for ‘neg­li­gence’ in crash

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SUNDAY SELECT - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

An apolo­getic Boy­er­town man has ad­mit­ted that he was speed­ing and driv­ing reck­lessly dur­ing a two-ve­hi­cle crash that in­jured a cou­ple in another ve­hi­cle in Lower Prov­i­dence.

“I am very re­morse­ful and ter­ri­bly sorry that any of my reck­less­ness or neg­li­gence caused some­one else harm. I’m very sorry,” Luke Alexan­der Kovitch, 20, said Mon­day as he pleaded guilty in Mont­gomery County Court to mis­de­meanor charges of reck­lessly en­dan­ger­ing other per­sons and sum­mary charges of speed­ing and care­less and reck­less driv­ing in con­nec­tion with the 9:18 a.m. Nov. 8, 2014, crash at Ridge Pike and South Grange Av­enue. “I learned my les­son.”

Pres­i­dent Judge Wil­liam J. Furber Jr., who ac­cepted a plea agree­ment in the case, sen­tenced Kovitch to four years’ pro­ba­tion. Kovitch, of the first block of Col­lege Street, also must pay $14,537 in resti­tu­tion to the crash vic­tims, who suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries in the crash.

By plead­ing guilty to reck­less en­dan­ger­ment, Kovitch ad­mit­ted that he reck­lessly en­gaged in con­duct which placed other peo­ple in dan­ger of death or se­ri­ous bod­ily in­jury.

The plea agree­ment was hashed out in the midst of a pre­trial hear­ing at which de­fense lawyer Matthew S. Ha­garty and As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Richard H. Brad­bury Jr. ar­gued about the ad­mis­si­bil­ity at trial of a state­ment Kovitch gave to de­tec­tives sev­eral months af­ter the crash.

“Mr. Kovitch ac­cepts re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions. He does want to apol­o­gize. I don’t think a day goes by, a minute goes by, that he doesn’t think of (the vic­tims),” Ha­garty said. “I can’t speak highly enough about the young man.”

A more se­ri­ous felony charge of ag­gra­vated as­sault by a ve­hi­cle was not pur­sued by pros­e­cu­tors as part of the plea agree­ment.

“In a nut­shell, he ad­mit­ted to driv­ing at an ex­traor­di­nar­ily high rate of speed up Ridge Pike,” Brad­bury ex­plained. “Ev­ery­one rec­og­nized that this was a tragedy for ev­ery­one in­volved but at the end of the day the

de­fen­dant still had to be held ac­count­able for his ac­tions.”

Pros­e­cu­tors al­leged Kovitch, op­er­at­ing a 2000 Ford Mus­tang, was trav­el­ing at 82 mph, in an area posted 45 mph, east­bound on Ridge Pike in the left lane when he struck a 2010 Toy­ota High­lander, oc­cu­pied by a Col­legeville hus­band and wife, that had turned from South Grange Av­enue to head west on Ridge Pike. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­ter­mined the Toy­ota was in the right curb lane of east­bound Ridge Pike at the time of im­pact, court pa­pers in­di­cate.

Kovitch, pros­e­cu­tors said, was on his way to work in Lower Prov­i­dence at the time of the crash.

The male driver of the Toy­ota sus­tained “se­ri­ous long term in­juries” and his wife suf­fered “mod­er­ate in­juries” and they were taken to Paoli Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal for treat­ment, po­lice said. Kovitch, a Boy­er­town High School grad­u­ate, was trans­ported to the Hos­pi­tal of the Univer­sity of Pennsylvania.

Still bear­ing scars from the dev­as­tat­ing crash, Kovitch, who was 18 at the time of the col­li­sion, tes­ti­fied on Mon­day that he suf­fered a trau­matic brain in­jury, op­tic nerve dam­age and a sev­ered carotid artery and spent two months in a hos­pi­tal and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ter.

Wit­nesses, other driv­ers in the area, told po­lice that Kovitch was “rapidly ac­cel­er­at­ing,” pass­ing mul­ti­ple ve­hi­cles and “driv­ing care­lessly” on Ridge Pike in the mo­ments lead­ing up to the crash, some es­ti­mat­ing his speed at be­tween 70- and 100-mph, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint. Wit­nesses claimed they did not see Kovitch ap­ply the brakes prior to the crash.

Af­ter the ini­tial col­li­sion, the Mus­tang struck a util­ity pole on the south­east cor­ner of the in­ter­sec­tion while the Toy­ota came to rest across the east­bound lanes of Ridge Pike, po­lice said.

Dur­ing a Jan. 9, 2015, in­ter­view by po­lice, Kovitch claimed he did not re­call his speed prior to the crash and did not re­call the crash. Kovitch al­legedly de­scribed him­self as an “av­er­age” driver and said he had been learn­ing to drive the Mus­tang un­der his par­ent’s ob­ser­va­tions with his learner’s per­mit since June 2014, ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers filed by Lower Prov­i­dence Po­lice Cpl. Richard W. As­ton.

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