A DUI driver who struck and killed a sheriff’s deputy last year was sentenced Tuesday.
Harry Burak, 28, of East Rockhill Township was sentenced to six and ½ to 22 ¾ years in state prison. Burak had pleaded guilty to multiple felonies in the death of Deputy Keith W. Clymer.
On May 16, 2017 around 8:30 p.m., Burak was driving his 2017 Dodge Ram 5500 truck on Route 313 in front of his home. Clymer, who was off-duty, was riding his 2006 Honda motorcycle eastbound near Sterner Mill Road when Burak pulled into his path as he turned left into his driveway.
Clymer, 48, of Kintnersville, was killed instantly when his motorcycle slammed into the side of Burak’s truck.
Burak had a blood alcohol level of .18 percent shortly after the crash, more than twice the legal limit for a Pennsylvania driver. His driver’s license had also been revoked due to four prior DUIs.
Investigators say Burak had left a bar near his home with a six-pack of beer two hours before the deadly crash and had already drank five pints of beer in less than an hour. While Burak still walked about a half-mile to and from the bar, he still chose to drive at some point after, investigators said.
Moments after the crash, a neighbor who was mowing his grass ran across the street and told Burak to call 911. During the call, Burak initially told the operator only one vehicle was involved in the crash and no one was injured before hanging up, investigators said. Burak also flailed his arms and struggled with responding police officers when they tried to take him into custody, according to officials. The officers had to take him to the ground before placing him in handcuffs.
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The neighbor showed investigators video of the collision from his security camera which showed Burak didn’t use his turn signal moments before the crash.
Clymer’s girlfriend Megan McCuen said he was on his way home from her house when he was struck and killed. She also said she had been expecting a call from him when he got home as she always did.
“When Keith didn’t call, I knew something was wrong and I went looking for him,” she said. “As I approached one stop sign I looked left and saw all the emergency lights. I screamed, knowing my life will never be the same.”
Clymer had worked as a deputy sheriff for Bucks County since he was sworn in on December 30, 2013. He was assigned to the Domestic Relations warrant team and was also a self-defense/defensive tactics instructor for the sheriff’s office.
Clymer’s colleagues and loved ones described him as a good-hearted and fun-loving man devoted to his work and his two sons.
“Ever since my brother and I were young, we were attached to my dad at the hip. We were inseparable,” wrote Clymer’s 16-year-old son, Rooney. “After the passing of my mom at the age of 15 we became even closer. He was the one that picked me up in the darkest points in my life and brushed me off. He pushed me to never give up … His heart was so big it wouldn’t fit in this room.”
Fellow sheriff’s deputy Greg Appleton said Clymer would, “spend hours of his own time talking to people to get them to turn themselves in” on domestic warrants.
“He gained enormous amounts of respect from his peers in the department, as well as the subjects that he sought after,” Appleton said. “Keith was big on talking to people and truly listening to them to try and help them through whatever issues that person had.”