From Delaware County Daily Times – Editorial: Getting repeat DUI offenders off our roads
That’s how Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland described the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash that took the life of a 45-year-old Brookhaven woman in Upper Chichester Saturday night.
We could add a few others.
Senseless. And criminal.
David Matthew Strowhouer, a 30-year-old man from the Newtown Square section of Willistown Township, now faces charges in connection with the Saturday night fatal crash on Market Street in Upper Chichester Township.
Police now allege Strowhouer was under the influence of alcohol when he veered into the oncoming lane and slammed head-on into another vehicle. It would not be the first time.
In fact, this would be the sixth time Strowhouer would face charges of driving under the influence in a string of arrests in both Chester and Delaware counties.
Only this time it turned deadly. Police say Strowhouer’s SUV veered into the oncoming lane and slammed into another car. Denna Eckman was killed. Her husband Chris Eckman was seriously injured.
Police say Strowhouer was driving with a suspended license, the result of one of his previous DUI arrests.
He had done prison time on at least one of his previous DUI arrests in Delaware County, serving a one-to-five-year sentence in 2017. He was on parole at the time of Saturday night’s accident.
That will come as little comfort to the family of Eckman. That will give them something in common with the Hannagan family of Chester County, who lobbied for tougher sentences for drivers convicted of multiple DUI offenses. Their son and daughter were killed when their vehicle was struck by a drunken driver.
The truth is there is little the state or law enforcement can do if someone decides they are going to get behind the wheel. Suspending a person’s license does not prevent them from driving, regardless of whether they are impaired.
But they can’t drive from prison.
And that finally may be the way David Matthew Strowhouer is removed from the road.
That’s because state law has changed, and provides much stiffer sentences for drivers who rack up multiple DUI offenses.
The legislation, championed by former state Sen. John Rafferty, R-44 of Montgomery County, and Sen. Scott Martin, R-13 of Lancaster County, took the three-year mandatory sentence for a person convicted in a fatal DUI accident from three years to five years. A person with multiple DUI offenses, as Strowhouer does, would face up to seven years in prison. MORE
Chester County man faces sixth DUI – as well as homicide charge – for fatal crash in Delco
FROM THE PHILLYVOICE.COM – Chester County man faces multiple criminal charges in the aftermath of a fatal hit-and-run crash last weekend in Upper Chichester, Delaware County, prosecutors said.
The defendant, 30-year-old David Strowhouer, of Willistown, Chester County, allegedly was drunk at the time of the crash on Feb. 16. Strowhouer has five prior DUI convictions.
Police responded to the crash around 9:20 p.m. in the 3300 block of Market Street, where they found a Subaru WRX with a male and unresponsive female passenger trapped inside. A Dodge Ram pickup truck with severe damage was also found at the scene.
Investigators say they determined that Strowhouer, allegedly driving the pickup, crossed over the double yellow line and struck the Subaru. He then allegedly fled on foot.
Strowhouer had attended his mother’s funeral earlier that day and allegedly had been drinking alcohol, police said. When he returned to the crash scene, he allegedly told police that his cousin from Puerto Rico had been driving the car and that the two men were on the way to buy cocaine at the time of the crash.
Authorities say they believe that Strowhouer was lying about his cousin driving the pickup truck.
The male passenger in the Subaru survived the crash and was hospitalized with serious injuries. His wife died of her injuries, police said.
“I find this case to be devastatingly troubling,” District Attorney Katayoun Copeland said. “On a day where the defendant should have been with his family mourning the passing of his mother, he instead brought tragedy to another family.” MORE
Deana Marie Eckman (nee DeRosa) passed away suddenly and tragically on Feb. 16, 2019, age 45 of Brookhaven. Deana worked as an Accounts Receivable Specialist at Alarm Funding Associates. She also worked as a manicurist at Salon Bella Amici. Devoted wife of Christian “Chris”. Loving daughter of Richard & Roseann DeRosa, cherished sister of Richie DeRosa and Janine (Howie) Guarini. Relatives and friends are invited to her gathering Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 9-11:45 am, at the D’ANJOLELL – STIGALE MEMORIAL HOME, 3260 Concord Road, Aston. Celebration of her life will be held 12 noon in our Main Chapel. Interment will be held privately. Donations: In lieu of flowers, donations in Deana’s name can be made to Providence Animal Center 555 Sandy Bank Rd. Media, Pa. 19063. Condolences can be made at www.danjolell.com