Woman pleads guilty to DUI in a crash that killed three on I-95 in Bucks County
Priscilla Cortez was driving south on northbound I-95 on April 1 when she crashed into another car, killing Ryan Connell, 28, Leanne Popson, 35, both of Levittown, and Lucas Gelatko, 36, of Yardley.
A 34-year-old Camden woman pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and related offenses stemming from a crash that killed three people on I-95 in Bensalem.
Priscilla Cortez was driving south on northbound I-95 at about 1:40 a.m. April 1 when she crashed into another car, killing Ryan Connell, 28; Leanne Popson, 35, both of Levittown; and Lucas Gelatko, 36, of Yardley, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. All three victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
An investigation showed that Cortez was driving 69 mph in a 55 mph zone. While being interviewed at the scene, she had a strong odor of alcohol on her breath and admitted to having consumed “a lot,” Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James said in court, the release said.
Cortez was treated at a hospital, and her blood-alcohol content was 0.156 percent, nearly double the state’s .08 limit. Tests also found that she had marijuana in her system, prosecutors said.
Her attorney, Michael Kotik, said afterward that Cortez, “is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met” and “has been completely destroyed by this whole situation.”
He added: “She is just completely remorseful. She understands there were three people who lost their lives. She understands there are children without parents. It just kills her inside.”
Cortez has no previous criminal record, he said.
Common Pleas Court Judge C. Theodore Frisch Jr. deferred sentencing for about 60 days. Cortez has been at the Bucks County Correctional Facility since she was taken into custody in May.