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Prison ordered in Collinsville-area crash that killed Felton teen
A Red Lion-area man who caused a 2014 crash in Chanceford Township that killed an 18-year-old Felton woman and badly injured one of her two passengers will spend his prison time in county jail rather than in state prison.
Killed in the Sept. 22, 2014, crash was Elizabeth "Lizzy" Cockey, state police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple injuries.
Brandon D. Taylor was sentenced Thursday to a year minus a day to two years minus two days in York County Prison and seven years of probation, according to court records.
He also was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, submit to a mental-health evaluation and pay nearly $20,000 in restitution.
Defense attorney Suzanne Smith said Taylor must reimburse Cockey's family more than $9,000, most of which is for her funeral expenses. He must also pay $10,000 to Met-Ed for shearing off a utility pole, Smith said, adding the Met-Ed restitution amount can be modified if Taylor's insurance has already partially reimbursed the utility company.
"Mr. Taylor and his family have actually been making monthly payments for over a year to Met-Ed (as part of) a civil agreement," she said.
Written apology: During Taylor's sentencing hearing Smith read a statement he had prepared, apologizing to the Cockey family.
"He asked me to read it for him," Smith said, because he was struggling with his emotions. Taylor was friends with Cockey's passenger and also knew Cockey, the attorney said.
"Not a day goes by that he doesn't regret what happened," she said.
Cockey's parents and sister also gave statements in court about how losing her has affected their lives, Smith confirmed.
Taylor, 21, of of 849 Zimmerman Road in Windsor Township, pleaded guilty Feb. 29 to the third-degree felonies of vehicular homicide and aggravated assault by vehicle, and to misdemeanor reckless endangerment.
The crash: Cockey was driving a Saturn southbound on Delta Road, near the Collinsville Drive-In, about 4 p.m. when Taylor, who also was southbound, drove into the oncoming lane and passed her in a blue Jeep Cherokee, court documents state.
When Taylor cut back over to the southbound lane to avoid an oncoming car, his Jeep struck the Saturn, which spun out of control, went up an embankment, rolled, struck a utility pole and ended up on its roof, according to documents.
An accident reconstructionist determined Taylor was driving between 83 mph and 96 mph at the time of the crash, and that Cockey was driving between 30 mph and 43 mph, according to Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office.
The area is posted with no-passing signs, according to police.
Passenger badly hurt: John Sparks, Cockey's boyfriend and passenger, suffered a concussion, a fractured vertebra, respiratory failure and a facial injury, according to police. Cockey's 2-year-old passenger, her nephew, suffered moderate injuries, police said.
"The defendant stated he was screwing around when he attempted to pass the Saturn and that his actions were careless," court documents state.
A woman who was driving southbound on Delta Road just prior to the crash told police that a blue Jeep tailgated her and swerved in the northbound lane in an attempt to pass her, according to court documents. She said the Jeep's operator was driving aggressively; she reported her encounter after learning of the fatal crash, documents state.
Jeep not a 'weapon': The prosecution had been seeking a weapons enhancement that could have increased Taylor's prison sentence.
But presiding Common Pleas Judge Richard K. Renn determined the enhancement didn't apply in this case because Taylor didn't deliberately use the Jeep as a weapon, according to Smith.
Taylor had no prior record.
Cockey graduated from Kennard-Dale High School, according to her obituary.
Senior deputy prosecutor Sarah Buhite was not immediately available for comment.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com.