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

Liz Evans Scolforo
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 Glenville-area sprint-car driver is facing at least three years in state prison, convicted by a jury of causing an alcohol-fueled crash that killed girlfriend Ambre Rheinhardt in 2017.

Todd Anthony 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%.

Gracey, 53, of St. Johns Road in Manheim Township, is scheduled to be sentenced June 16 by presiding Common Pleas Judge Amber A. Kraft, according to court records.

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A York County jury on April 30 found him guilty of the felonies of homicide by vehicle while DUI and homicide by vehicle, the misdemeanors of reckless endangerment and driving under the influence, plus 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.

Pennsylvania law states that judges must impose a prison sentence of at least three years for convictions of homicide by vehicle while DUI.

Gracey is a well-known local sprint-car racer.

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 truck west when it went off the right side of the road.

He overcorrected, causing him to lose control of the pickup, 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.

An accident reconstruction determined the pickup was going 76 mph five seconds before crashing, according to charging documents.

Neither Gracey nor Rheinhardt, 40, was wearing a seat belt, documents state. The couple lived together in Manheim Township.

Witness pulled over: Another driver in the area told troopers that just before the crash, the pickup 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.

There was debris scattered throughout the crash scene, including Bud Light beer cans, and troopers found more Bud Light beer cans inside the wrecked pickup, documents state.

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.

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