Man convicted on DUI charges in crash that killed two

By Suzanne Proulx
By Kelly McCarthy

April 4, 2013 Updated Apr 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM EDT

Montrose, PA (WBNG Binghamton) A Susquehanna County judge finds a man guilty of drunk driving charges relating to a February 2012 accident that left two men dead.

Brett Bennett, 41, of Kingsley, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in March and was back in court Thursday fighting two additional charges for driving under the influence.

Bennett pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of Brian Thomas and Edwin Turner III. The accident happened in February 2012.

Pennsylvania State Police said he was driving south from Maloney's Bar when he hit both men along Route 11 near the Blue Ridge Motel with his pickup truck.

Bennett admitted he had been drinking and was driving too fast in a 35 mph zone when he struck and killed the men as they were crossing Route 11 in New Milford.

Bennett did not testify during his bench trial, but his attorney argued police failed to take his blood alcohol level within two hours of the accident.

It's Pennsylvania state law that a blood test taken beyond two hours is invalid.

Bennett gave a blood sample for blood-alcohol testing at a hospital in Scranton two and a half hours after the accident.

An expert witness testified earlier in court saying his results showed a blood alcohol level of 0.148.

President Judge Kenneth Seamans found Bennett guilty of both DUI charges: One charge DUI, general impairment and one charge DUI blood alcohol level above 0.10.

Bennett's DUI conviction increases the severity of a sentence to his previous charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Bennett faces a minimum of nine months and maximum of five years in jail for each of his two counts.

Bennett will be back in court on April 18 for a sentencing hearing. He remains released on bail.