A Bucks County man with a history of drug use will face trial for a New Year's morning crash on I-95 that killed two people and injured a third.
Jesse S. Maiden was held for trial today on two counts of homicide by motor vehicle and charges of driving under the influence by Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Jimmie Moore.
Moore rejected a request by defense attorney Marc S. Stolee to reduce Maiden's $650,000 bail. Assistant District Attorney John Doyle said Maiden was a danger to the public, adding that the defendant had no address and was living in a Langhorne drug rehabilitation center on Jan. 1.
Maiden, 36, a portly bearded man, was animated as he listened to the preliminary hearing testimony, repeatedly whispering to Stolee or passing him notes.
Maiden struggled to avoid crying when a state trooper read the statement Maiden gave him at Aria Health's Frankford Campus hospital about 9:20 a.m., after he was treated for accident injuries.
Trooper Charles Burckhart said that Maiden's eyes were bloodshot and glassy, and that he had trouble forming complete sentences. Maiden's mood shifted rapidly between "boisterous laughter" and "heavy sobbing," Burckhart said.
"I didn't kill them," Maiden sobbed, according to Burckhart. "I don't want that on me, especially if they got kids . . . I don't want that on my soul."
Burckhart said Maiden admitted to smoking several marijuana cigarettes and using crack cocaine before and during a New Year's Eve party in Delaware County. Maiden said he reached for a cigarette, took his eye off the road and crashed, Burckhart said.
Maiden said he began drug rehab five years earlier but recently relapsed, according to Burckhart. He said he regularly drove without incident after using crack.
"I never had an impaired feeling last night. I'm being honest, I'm not being stupid or anything," Maiden said, according to Burckhart.
Northeast Philadelphia motorist Joseph Price, 59, testified that he was driving home after watching the fireworks and clubbing in Center City.
Price said his Dodge Caravan minivan was in the left lane of northbound I-95 about 2:30 a.m. when a rear tire blew and he pulled onto the the left shoulder.
Price testified that he was trying to call for road service for about 10 minutes when his van was struck from behind by a Ford Contour.
Price said he and the other driver exchanged information and returned to their vehicles while Price called 911. He waited about 10 minutes, Price continued, when there was another crash that propelled his van across three lanes of traffic and up against a concrete barrier on the right shoulder.
Price, who walked stiffly into court and wore a cervical collar, sustained a broken neck and a shoulder injury. Police said the Ford's driver, Norman Wilkerson, 45, of Southwest Philadelphia, and passenger, Maria Cox, 47, of Upper Holmesburg, were dead at the scene.
Police said that when they arrived, Maiden's Jeep Cherokee was on its side and Maiden was climbing through the sunroof. Maiden's date, Kristen Paris, 21, of Bridesburg, was standing nearby.
Philadelphia police Sgt. Jerome Moore testified that he was driving home on I-95 after finishing his shift when he noticed a car - with only parking lights on - in his rear view mirror approaching at high speed.
As he neared the two stopped cars on the left shoulder near Bridge Street, Moore said, the lights behind neared so fast that he moved right.
"I braced for an impact because I didn't think the vehicle had enough time to change lanes," Moore testified. "I heard an impact and then saw debris going up in the air."