Guilty plea in fatal Fairview Twp. crash that killed Iraq war veteran
A Fairview Township man has pleaded guilty to driving drunk and causing a crash that killed an Iraq war veteran and injured another person in 2015.
Fairview Township Police said Justin Mitchell Haines' blood-alcohol level was about three times the legal limit when he caused a Feb. 8, 2015, crash that took the life of 30-year-old Kyle Quigley, of New Cumberland.
Haines, 39, pleaded guilty in York County Court on Monday, May 20, to the charges of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, aggravated assault while DUI, homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle, DUI and careless driving. The vehicular homicide and aggravated assault charges are second- and third-degree felonies.
As part of a negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors, first-degree felony charges of third-degree murder and aggravated assault were dropped, according to court records.
The plea agreement calls for Haines to spend eight to 16 years in state prison, according to Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office.
Haines remains free on bail pending sentencing, which is set for 3 p.m. June 28, according to court records.
His defense attorney, Edward Spreha Jr., did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Legal wrangling over the admissibility of Haines' blood-alcohol testing results, which included appeals to the state Superior Court, delayed the case for years, court records reveal.
The crash: Haines was westbound on Lewisberry Road about 5:50 p.m., going 78 mph in a 40 mph speed-limit zone, when he crashed into Quigley's car, which had been stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Poplar Road, according to Fairview Township Police.
Haines slammed on the brakes about a second before the collision, which slowed his speed to about 60 mph, police have said.
Quigley was thrown from his car from the force of the crash, according to police, who said a passenger in his car suffered serious injuries.
Quigley died about two hours later at a Harrisburg hospital.
Haines' blood-alcohol level was determined to be 0.25% — more than three times the legal limit. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08%.
Haines previously pleaded guilty to DUI and related offenses in 2008 in Dauphin County and was sentenced to six months in prison there, according to court records.
War veteran: Quigley graduated from Cedar Cliff High School in 2003, then joined the Army as a cavalry scout with the 101st Airborne Division, according to his obituary. He was a veteran of the Iraq War.
He was an activist who participated in demonstrations and marches to help increase awareness of the treatment of war veterans, his obituary states.
He was a former president of the Harrisburg Area Community College chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, according to his obituary, which states he was a free spirit and traveled extensively.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.