A Windsor Township man accused of causing a crash that killed his brother in 2010 tried to plead guilty in York County Court on Friday, but it fell apart when he told the judge the crash would have happened whether he was under the influence or not.
Robert Elwood Bowman Jr., 25, of 704 Taylor Road, was then given the opportunity by the presiding judge to plead no contest, rather than guilty, to charges of homicide by vehicle while DUI and DUI. The proposed plea agreement came with a three- to seven-year state prison sentence.
After conferring with defense attorney Bill Graff, Bowman said he wanted to enter a no-contest plea. But he couldn't get through it and eventually told Common Pleas Judge John S. Kennedy he'd rather go to trial.
"I'm not afraid of doing the time," the college student told the judge, adding he was unable to truthfully say that the alcohol, cocaine and marijuana in his system caused the crash. His blood-alcohol level was 0.06 percent, lower than the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent.
What caused crash? Bowman maintains the fatal crash was caused by a combination of bald tires and a slick road. Chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker said a full accident reconstruction determined the condition of the road wasn't a factor in the crash.
Killed in the Nov. 26, 2010, crash was Tre Isaac Parker, 19, of Windsor Township. Police said Bowman was driving in the 1300 block of Witmer Road in Windsor Township about 4:30 a.m. when he failed to negotiate a curve in the road and crashed into a utility pole.
Barker confirmed Parker tried to drive that morning but was too intoxicated, which is why Bowman got behind the wheel of Parker's Toyota Tercel.
Mandatory sentence: The charge of homicide by vehicle while DUI comes with a three-year mandatory minimum sentence, Barker said, so although family members wanted leniency for Bowman, less than three years in prison wasn't possible.
"It's not much of a bargain, but it's the best he's going to get," Graff said of the three- to seven-year offer. "It's because it's his brother that he's having a hard time (entering a plea)."
Judge Kennedy set a pretrial conference date of July 19.
Barker said he'll consider extending the offer to that date, but Bowman "has to honestly be willing to follow through with accountability."
-- Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.