Former sprint-car racer gets prison in 2017 fatal DUI crash

Harper Ho
York Dispatch
A York County jury on April 30, 2021, found Todd Gracey guilty of homicide by vehicle while DUI and lesser charges for causing an alcohol-fueled crash that killed girlfriend Ambre Rheinhardt on Oct. 1, 2017.

A well-known Glenville-area sprint-car racer who caused an alcohol-fueled crash that killed his girlfriend was sentenced Wednesday to serve three to six years in prison.

Todd Anthony Gracey, 53, of St. Johns Road in Manheim Township, was found guilty of homicide by vehicle while DUI in the 2017 crash that killed 40-year-old Ambre Rheinhardt, of Glenville.

More:York County sprint-car driver facing state prison for causing fatal DUI crash

More:Glenville sprint-car driver charged in fatal Codorus Twp. crash

Gracey was sentenced by Common Pleas Judge Amber Anstine Kraft. Pennsylvania law states that judges must impose a prison sentence of at least three years for convictions of homicide by vehicle while DUI. 

A York County jury on April 30 found Gracey guilty of the charge in addition to a felony charge of homicide by vehicle, misdemeanors of reckless endangerment and driving under the influence and summary traffic offenses including tailgating, failing to stay in his own lane, careless driving, reckless driving and failing to use seat belts, court records state.

State police on April 16, 2018, filed vehicular homicide charges against sprint-car racer Todd Gracey (center), of Glenville. Gracey crashed his pickup truck Oct. 1, 2017, killing live-in girlfriend Ambre Rheinhardt, police said.

Crashed into tree: The crash happened at 7:11 p.m. Oct. 1, 2017, on Blooming Grove Road just east of Glenville Road in Codorus Township, according to state police.

Gracey was driving his Chevrolet Silverado pickup  west when it went off the right side of the road. He overcorrected, causing him to lose control of the truck, which crossed over the eastbound lane and slammed into a tree head-on, police said.

The pickup rolled after hitting the tree and ended up on its roof in the middle of the westbound lane of Blooming Grove Road, according to police.

A crash reconstruction determined the pickup was going 76 mph five seconds before crashing, according to charging documents. Neither Gracey nor Rheinhardt, who lived together in Manheim Township, was wearing a seat belt, documents state.

Witness pulled over: Another driver in the area told troopers that just before the crash, the  truck "had been tailgating her so closely that she could not see the Silverado's headlamps in her rearview mirror," court documents state.

The witness told troopers she pulled off the road so the pickup could pass her because she was concerned for her children's safety and her own, according to police.

Gracey was flown from the crash scene to York Hospital by medical helicopter with life-threatening injuries. Rheinhardt, formerly of West Virginia, was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. 

Gracey's blood-alcohol level after the fatal crash was 0.243%, police said, which is three times the legal limit. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08%.