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Man with 7 prior DUI arrests charged with homicide in motorcyclist's death

Robert Elwood Landis allegedly drove into 24-year-old man April 26 in Westtown Township.

A WEST CHESTER man with seven prior drunken-driving arrests was drunk and driving with a suspended license when he fatally hit a motorcyclist in April, Chester County District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan said yesterday.

Robert Elwood Landis, 49, of Concord Road near Oakbourne, now is charged with homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence and related offenses in the death of Liam James Crowley, 24, on April 26 in Westtown Township, Hogan said.

Landis was driving a 2004 Dodge Ram pickup south on Wilmington Pike when he turned into traffic at Stanton Avenue and hit Crowley, who suffered multiple traumatic injuries despite wearing a helmet, Hogan said.

Landis claimed he had only "a couple of beers," but police found "numerous" empty and full beer cans in his truck, as well as several opened letters from PennDOT about his suspended license and an application for an alcohol-sensitive ignition lock required to restore his driving privileges, according to the affidavit.

Tests showed his blood-alcohol level at 0.28 percent - more than three times the legal limit in Pennsylvania, Hogan said.

Crowley, of Chesterbrook, died at Paoli Hospital two days after the crash.

"Getting behind the wheel of a pickup truck at night on the highway with this much alcohol in your system is like firing a 5,000-pound bullet into a crowd of people," Hogan said.

He added: "We cannot bring Liam Crowley back to his family and friends, but we will pursue justice against the man who killed Liam."