Motorist apologizes for ‘negligence’ in crash
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.