NORRISTOWN >> A Lower Salford man is in jail awaiting his fate from a judge after he admitted he was driving under the influence of drugs when he struck and injured a woman rollerblading on a Skippack roadway.
Daniel Michael Johnson, 46, of the 200 block of Danielle Drive, pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Court to charges of aggravated assault by a vehicle while driving under the influence of a controlled substance and DUI in connection with the 6:14 p.m. April 16, 2017, incident on Lucon Road, just south of Township Line Road, in Skippack.
Common Pleas Court Judge William R. Carpenter deferred sentencing so that court officials can complete a background investigative report about Johnson, who will undergo drug and alcohol evaluations. The judge remanded Johnson to the county jail without bail to await his sentencing hearing later this year.
Johnson faces a possible maximum sentence of five to 10 years in prison on the charges. However, state sentencing guidelines could allow for a lesser sentence.
The investigation began when state police at Skippack were dispatched to the Lucon Road location for a reported crash and found a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, with damage to the passenger side headlamp and windshield, in the northbound lane of the roadway. Police also found a female lying on the grass just off the east side of the roadway, according to the criminal complaint filed by state police Trooper Kevin Kassel.
“The unresponsive victim was lying on her left side, had shallow breath, a low pulse and was being treated by ambulance personnel. The victim sustained head trauma and blood covering her face,” Kassel wrote in the arrest affidavit.
The victim was airlifted to a hospital in Lehigh County for emergency treatment.
Johnson, who had been driving the Jetta, was standing near the victim and he stated to police, “Just tell me she is going to be ok,” according to the criminal complaint. Kassel said Johnson was “erratic and rambling.”
The subsequent investigation determined Johnson’s Jetta was traveling northbound on Lucon Road when it struck the victim, who had been rollerblading on the northbound shoulder of the roadway.
“The Jetta made impact with the pedestrian’s left leg and head,” Kassel alleged.
During an initial interview, Johnson told police he was coming from a friend’s house and was on his way home and only recalled, “bam, and saw my windshield cracked,” according to the arrest affidavit. Police asked Johnson to complete field sobriety tests and at that time police observed indicators of an operator under the influence of narcotics.
Johnson was transported to a local hospital for a blood draw. During a second interview, Johnson admitted that he consumed methamphetamine “Friday night through Saturday morning, slept all Saturday into Sunday and woke up to go home prior to the crash,” according to the criminal complaint. The crash occurred Sunday evening.
“Johnson related he had been messing around with the sunroof when the window cracked and he saw her (the victim) in the rear view mirror,” Kassel wrote in the arrest affidavit.
Blood tests revealed “positive findings for methamphetamine and amphetamine” in Johnson’s system, police alleged.
Police said an inspection of the Jetta found no mechanical problems or conditions that could have contributed to the crash. An accident reconstruction investigation was conducted by a state police trooper from the Reading barracks “who considered a visibility issue and determined an alert driver should have observed a pedestrian in the roadway.”