Boy­er­town man charged in fa­tal hit-and-run crash

The Boyertown Area Times - - FRONT PAGE -

State Po­lice have filed charges in a fa­tal hi­tand-run crash that killed a young fa­ther of four in July.

Po­lice said Wed­nes­day they have charged Steven Bernard Rokita, 50, of Boy­er­town, af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the July 23 crash iden­ti­fied him as the driver of a red Ford Fu­sion that po­lice say left the scene of an ac­ci­dent.

The crash oc­curred on Quak­er­town Road in Up­per Hanover, killing 38-year-old Wil­liam Ben­der of East Greenville and leav­ing 84-year-old Ed­ward Kabakjian of Penns­burg with se­ri­ous in­juries.

At the time, po­lice re­ported that the in­ci­dent oc­curred as an uniden­ti­fied orange/brown or faded red ve­hi­cle was trav­el­ing be­hind Ben­der’s ve­hi­cle, a black 2005 Honda Civic, at around 4:45 p.m. Both ve­hi­cles were trav­el­ing south on Quak­er­town Road just be­fore North­gate Boule­vard when the uniden­ti­fied ve­hi­cle struck the back bumper of Ben­der’s ve­hi­cle.

The force from the im­pact then pro­pelled Ben­der’s ve­hi­cle into the op­po­site lane of on­com­ing traf­fic, po­lice said. Ben­der’s ve­hi­cle was then struck on the pas­sen­ger side by a third on­com­ing ve­hi­cle, a 2003 Buick Sabre driven by Kabakjian.

The uniden­ti­fied ve­hi­cle that struck Ben­der’s bumper fled the scene and was last seen head­ing south­bound on Quak­er­town Road to­ward Penns­burg, po­lice said.

Rokita has been charged with caus­ing an ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing death or per­sonal in­jury, mak­ing an un­safe move­ment while driv­ing, fol­low­ing too closely, driv­ing at an un­safe speed, care­less driv­ing, fail­ure to stop and give aid, and fail­ure to no­tify po­lice of a fa­tal ac­ci­dent. He also was charged with pos­ses­sion of drug para­pher­na­lia and giv­ing false in­for­ma­tion, po­lice said.

He is sched­uled for ar­raign­ment on Sept. 20 be­fore District Judge Mau­reen C. Cog­gins.

Ben­der, who was head­ing home from his SEPTA job Philadel­phia, leaves be­hind a wife and four chil­dren. He was a 1998 grad­u­ate of Up­per Perkiomen High School.

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