Coaldale man faces DUI following crash
John Vincent Chaney, 21, of 130 Sixth Street, Coaldale, faces driving under the influence and related charges after a March 28 car crash that left his friend with a broken neck.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, here's what happened:
Police Chief Timothy Delaney and officer Charles Blesse were on duty at 6:45 a.m. when they were called to the scene of an accident on Route 209 near Dock street, at the Schuylkill/ Carbon border.
Delaney saw skid marks heading toward Dock street, about 255 feet of which were on the opposite side of the highway, heading east in the southbound lane. He also saw a large billboard at Dock Street and Route 209 all over the roadside.
Lansford Det./Sgt. Jack Soberick was there, taking measurements, and told Delaney he believed the vehicle was traveling more than 65 mph at the time of the crash.
The car, a blue 1990 Chrysler LeBaron, had vaulted off the highway and struck a tree, causing the driver to be thrown from the vehicle. A passenger climbed out of the car after it had rolled 35 feet down an embankment.
The driver, Chaney, was flown to St. Lukes Hospital, Bethlehem. The passenger, Jacob Bynon, was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township.
Lansford Officer Jeffrey Ohl said he could smell a strong odor of alcohol on Chaney's breath as he spoke with him. Ohl had also spoken with Bynon, who was sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck, bleeding from his forearm and with blood on his face. Bynon told Ohl that Chaney had been driving.
Bruce Markovich of Lansford told police he had just pulled out of Dock Street at 6:57 a.m. and was traveling west on Route 209 when he saw an older model blue car traveling east on Route 209 in the area of Pappy's mini mart, and that the car was on the wrong side of the highway. Markovich said he had to pull completely off the highway in order to avoid a head-on collision.
Another witness, Maria Micholik, told police that at about 6:50 a.m., she was driving toward Coaldale on Route 209, another car was speeding toward her in her lane, and then swerved into the other lane in front of her. Micholik said she was afraid she was going to die as she saw the car barreling toward her. As she watched the car in her rearview mirror, she saw it flip into the woods, and called 911.
On March 29, Delaney interviewed Bynon at Lehigh Valley Hospital. Bynon said he and Chaney had been drinking the night before at Freddy's Pub in Tamaqua, and that Chaney had driven home from there for a few hours.
At about 5:45 a.m., Bynon told Chaney he had to get home, and "as he was driving, he started to drive like a nut all over the road."
Bynon said he told Chaney "to slow down or we will get killed."
The next thing he knew, Bynon said, he was on the ground, bleeding.
Bynon had suffered a broken neck and arm injuries.
On March 30, Delaney received the results of a blood test performed on Chaney soon after the accident. His blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent, the threshold for driving under the influence.
In addition to DUI, Chaney is also charged with reckless driving, driving on the right side of the highway, recklessly endangering another person, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI.