The Phoenix

Trial ordered for Philadelph­ia man accused of vehicular homicide in Conshohock­en fatal crash

Craig W. Coleman charged in crash that killed Richard G. Sitek, 82, of Conshohock­en

- By Carl Hessler Jr.

A Philadelph­ia man was ordered to stand trial on charges he was speeding and driving recklessly when he caused a two-vehicle crash in Conshohock­en that claimed the life of the second driver.

Craig W. Coleman, 55, of the 4000 block of North Franklin Street, after a preliminar­y hearing before District Court Judge Jodi L. Griffis, was held for trial on charges of homicide by vehicle, accidents involving death or injury while not properly licensed, reckless and careless driving, driving under suspension and speeding in connection with the 2:09 p.m. Dec. 21, 2022, two-vehicle crash that killed 82-yearold Richard G. Sitek of Conshohock­en.

Coleman’s bail was set at $99,000, 10% and if Coleman makes bail and is released, conditions prohibit him from operating a motor vehicle and from having contact with the victim’s family.

With the preliminar­y hearing completed, Coleman faces a March 8 formal arraignmen­t hearing on the charges in county court, after which a judge will set Coleman’s trial date.

An investigat­ion began about 2:10 p.m. Dec. 21, when Conshohock­en police were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash at the intersecti­on of Fayette Street and 7th Avenue in the borough. Arriving officers found Sitek unresponsi­ve and trapped in his 2001 Buick LaSabre and Coleman outside his 2020 Toyota Camry complainin­g of pain, according to the criminal complaint filed by Conshohock­en Detective Matthew Bahn and county Detective David Schanes.

Sitek was transporte­d by medical helicopter to PennPresby­terian Hospital in Philadelph­ia where he was pronounced dead at 3:52 p.m. An autopsy later determined Sitek died from blunt force injuries and the manner of death was ruled “accident,” according to court documents.

Coleman was transporte­d by ambulance to a local hospital where he was treated for injuries and released.

Investigat­ors alleged Coleman had a suspended driver’s license, effective Nov. 25, 2022, at the time of the crash.

Witnesses to the crash reported they observed Coleman’s vehicle tailgating another driver and speeding shortly before the crash.

Investigat­ors obtained footage from video surveillan­ce cameras in the area that depicted Coleman’s Toyota traveling southbound on Fayette Street at 2:08 p.m., tailgating a Jeep and then abruptly swerving to the right lane to travel around the Jeep, cutting off a car already in the right lane and then moving back in front of the Jeep, according to the criminal complaint.

At the same time, Sitek stopped his Buick at a stop sign on 7th Avenue facing westbound and then proceeded to cross the two northbound lanes of Fayette Street and was moving into the southbound lanes when Coleman’s vehicle crashed into the passenger side of the Buick, authoritie­s alleged.

Investigat­ors determined Coleman’s vehicle was traveling at 47 mph in an area marked 25 mph about five seconds before the collision. At 1.15 seconds before the crash, Coleman began applying the brakes, and his car was traveling at 42.9 mph at impact, according to court papers.

Detectives alleged that had Coleman been operating his car at the posted 25 mph speed limit “the crash would not have occurred.”

“The Buick would have been completely through the intersecti­on by the time the Toyota arrived at the intersecti­on,” Bahn and Schanes alleged in the arrest affidavit.

The investigat­ion concluded that Coleman was driving without a valid driver’s license and was operating his vehicle in a reckless manner, including speeding, which caused the fatal crash.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Waeltz Jr. is prosecutin­g the case.

 ?? ?? Craig W. Coleman
Craig W. Coleman

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