Dover Twp. woman guilty of DUI crash that killed husband

Lisa Sheaffer

A Dover Township woman faces up to six years in prison after she was found guilty Thursday of homicide by vehicle for the crash that killed her husband in 2017.

Senior deputy prosecutor Jared Mellott said jurors deliberated for about 45 minutes to find Lisa Sheaffer, 51, guilty on that charge as well as charges of DUI, careless driving causing an unintentional death and careless driving, according to online court records.

She was found guilty during the conclusion of her two-day trial Thursday, Jan. 24. Mellott said Sheaffer faces three to six years in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 26.

Northern York County Regional Police said Sheaffer had five to six Miller Lites before driving her husband home from a party April 29, 2017.

She crashed her black 2000 Saturn LS in the area of Harmony Grove Road and Sky Top Trail, which caused the death of her 54-year-old husband, Lorne Dean Sheaffer, according to court documents.

Mellott said the main issue was whether Lisa Sheaffer was legally justified in driving drunk. Her husband wasn't feeling well, and Lisa Sheaffer wanted to go home to get the numbers for his specialists, he said.

Mellott said Lisa Sheaffer had a phone while at the party, and guests there had phones as well.

"She could have just as easily called 911," he said.

Crash: Police were sent to the crash about 9 p.m. April 29, 2017, and found a sedan 100 feet off the road in a tree line at the bottom of an embankment.

A man had pulled Lisa Sheaffer out of her car, and her husband was later extricated from the car by the fire department, according to police.

Lorne Sheaffer was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy confirmed Lorne Sheaffer's cause of death was multiple blunt-force trauma caused by the crash, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

Police said Lisa Sheaffer was driving 56 mph in a 40 mph zone, while drunk, when she struck a utility pole. 

Mellott said evidence showed she was still going that speed just before the crash.

Results from her blood test showed her blood alcohol level was 0.121 percent, court documents state. Her blood was drawn shortly after the crash, according to police.

In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08 percent.

Drinking: Police spoke with Lisa Sheaffer, and she said she and her husband were at a party before the crash, according to officials.

She said she drank five to six Miller Lites at the party at a home on Harmony Grove Lane before the crash, documents state. Lisa Sheaffer told police her husband wasn't feeling well and was sleeping in the car during the party, according to police.

Lisa Sheaffer told police her husband had a heart condition, and she was going to call his doctors at Hershey Medical Center to see where he should be taken for treatment, which was why she didn't call for an ambulance at the party, documents state.

Mellott said in Sheaffer's view, she didn't think other local hospitals could take care of him.

Police said she was driving home when the crash happened.

Mellott said the case was sad because Lisa Sheaffer did not want her husband to die. He said it was a crime of negligence, which was why the charges were justified.

Lisa Sheaffer remains free on $50,000 unsecured bail while she awaits sentencing. Reached the morning of Friday, Jan. 25, her attorney, Tom Kelley, declined comment. 

 — Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.