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Enola man gets 15-30 years in prison for causing double-fatal DUI crash in York County

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Cumberland County man must spend years in prison for driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when he crashed into a wooded area in Newberry Township, killing two of his friends and injuring a third.

Bryan Adam Hammaker, 28, of Cypress Hollow Road in Enola, appeared Wednesday in York County Court, where he pleaded guilty to two counts each of third-degree murder and homicide by vehicle while DUI and one count each of aggravated assault and aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, according to court records. All the charges are felonies.

He also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of DUI, records state.

Hammaker was sentenced to a total of 15 to 30 years in state prison, defense attorney Patrick Lauer Jr. confirmed.

Bryan Hammaker

He was charged with third-degree murder because he was driving 89 mph in a 40 mph zone, and such an egregious speed constitutes malice, which is a requirement of third-degree murder, Lauer said.

Had Hammaker not been driving so fast, he might not have been charged with third-degree murder, according to his attorney.

"It was a gross lapse of judgment going that kind of speed," Lauer said. "He’s been very remorseful and very saddened by the whole thing. These were his best friends. He’d known them since middle school."

The victims: Killed during the Dec. 1, 2018, crash were Joseph E. Stevens, 25, and Ryan M. Klaiber, 26, both of Cumberland County, Newberry Township Police have said. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

Hammaker and his third friend, Mitchell Bumgardner, suffered serious injuries but survived, police said. It was Bumgardner's Ford Focus that Hammaker was driving at the time of the crash, according to court documents.

All four friends had been drinking and agreed Hammaker should drive, Lauer said.

"That's not an excuse," he said, and it doesn't mean his client's friends consented to going 89 mph in a 40 mph zone.

Hammaker was taken to prison after sentencing, Lauer confirmed, and said his client has taken full responsibility for his crimes.

He has a 2-year-old son, his attorney said.

Lauer said he told the victims' families in court Wednesday that they paid the price two years ago, and now it's time for Hammaker to pay the price.

"He's going to have a lot of time to think about it," Lauer said. "In all of my years as an attorney, none of these cases are easy."

The crash: It was Bumgardner's car that Hammaker was driving that night, Newberry Township Police have said.

Bumgardner told investigators they were coming from the Grotto Pub in Enola and were on their way to Bumgardner's home in northern York County to sleep for the night, court documents state.

Hammaker was going as fast as 89 mph on Old Trail Road, which is a 40 mph zone, according to documents.

He lost control of the southbound car, which crossed into the northbound lane before going down into the woods and crashing into a number of trees, police said.

He was unconscious at the scene and flown by medical helicopter to York Hospital, according to police. Lauer said because of the severe injuries Hammaker suffered, including a brain injury, he has little recollection of the crash.

A reconstruction of the scene determined that at the time of impact, the car was going about 62 mph when it went off the road, down an embankment into a heavily wooded area and crashed into trees along the 700 block of Old Trail Road about 1:45 a.m., police have said.

Hammaker also had marijuana in his system and a blood-alcohol level of 0.125%, according to charging documents. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08%

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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