A Virginia man is charged with causing a vehicle crash in West Earl Township that killed two men – a tow truck operator and a driver who was receiving the tow.
West Earl Township police charged 30-year-old Anthony W. Caldwell with two counts of vehicular homicide while DUI and related charges regarding the Sept. 10 crash on Route 222.
Caldwell surrendered and was arraigned late Wednesday afternoon by District Judge Rodney Hartman, who set bail at $750,000, which was not posted.
Ralph Waltrous, a 44-year-old tow-truck operator, and 46-year-old Robert Buckwalter, a driver receiving the tow at the time of the crash, were killed after being impacted by Caldwell’s van. Autopsies determined the Lancaster County men died of traumatic injuries sustained in the crash.
A police reconstruction of the crash scene determined Caldwell’s van veered from the right, northbound lane on Route 222, across a fog line, striking both men, who were on foot during the tow.
Caldwell told police he had been drinking alcohol at a friend’s house prior to driving and the 1:45 a.m. crash.
Testing revealed Caldwell’s blood alcohol level was .088 percent shortly after the crash. Pennsylvania’s legal limit for drivers is .08 percent.
Also, Caldwell was not licensed to drive. He had a learner’s permit from Virginia, which required he be driving with an adult passenger. He was alone in his van during the crash.
A witness who also was driving north on Route 222 told police the van was driving erratically prior to the crash, swerving from lane to lane. The witness said the van did not move into the left lane, as required by law, despite the tow rig having its emergency lights activated on the right shoulder.
In all, Caldwell is charged with:
- Vehicular homicide while DUI (two counts)
- Vehicular homicide (two counts)
- DUI (two counts)
- Accident involving death while not properly licensed (two counts)
- Five summary traffic violations, for passing the tow truck in an immediately adjacent lane (two counts), driving while not properly licensed, reckless driving, and a lane violation.
The vehicular homicide while DUI counts each carry a mandatory, 3-year minimum prison term upon conviction.
West Earl Township police Detective Dawn Ray filed charges, which were approved by Assistant District Attorney Trista Boyd. West Earl Township police investigated, with reconstruction assistance from Lancaster County Detective Gregory Wahl.
Caldwell is presumed innocent.
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