A Montgomery County man is accused of driving while under the influence and crashing into a home, killing an elderly woman as she slept.
Joseph Bezanis, 21, of Telford, Pennsylvania, is charged with homicide by vehicle DUI, DUI, reckless endangerment of other persons, reckless driving and other related offenses.
Investigators say Bezanis was driving a 1995 Toyota late at night on April 5 on Harleysville Pike in Franconia Township when he jumped a curve. The vehicle drove through four lawns before becoming airborne and vaulting 21 feet into the side wall of a home on the 300 block of Harleysville Pike, striking 86-year-old Marianne Lambert as she slept inside a first floor bedroom, investigators said.
Police responded to the home after midnight and found both Bezanis and Lambert. Lambert was found crushed against an interior wall and was pronounced dead at the scene. Bezanis was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
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Toxicology results revealed Bezanis had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .172 percent at the time of the crash, according to investigators. The legal limit in Pennsylvania while driving is .08. Officials also say THC, the major active component of marijuana, was found in his blood.
Investigators say Bezanis drove at least 83 mph before going airborne and crashing into the home. The speed limit for the area is 40 mph.
Bezanis was arraigned Monday and his bail was set at $100,000 unsecured. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on April 30.
“The defendant’s decision to use marijuana as well as drink at a local bar turned deadly when he got behind the wheel of his vehicle and drove impaired,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele. “The defendant turned his vehicle into a lethal weapon that killed a grandmother as she was sleeping in her bed. His actions have left a family without a matriarch and have forever affected their feelings of safety in their own home.”