Police: Driver in Double Fatal Crash Was Under Influence of Drugs

| February 19, 2019

SALEM TWP., Pa. (EYT) – Court records have revealed that one of the drivers in double fatal accident that left two Knox men dead was under the influence of drugs.

Court documents indicate Clarion-based State Police filed one misdemeanor count of DUI: controlled substance – schedule 1 – first offense against 22-year-old Brandon Tyler Switzer, of Emlenton.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Trooper Jones, the crash occurred on State Route 208 in between Ron McHenry and Nickleville Roads in Salem Township around 5:26 p.m. on September 22, 2018.

A report issued in September 2018 by Trooper Jones indicated that 21-year-old Dylan M. Meals of Knox was traveling east on State Route 208 in a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado in the oncoming lane of traffic and approaching a westbound 2005 Chevrolet 2500HD operated by Brandon T. Switzer of Emlenton.

Both Meals and Switzer made evasive maneuvers towards the berm and the two pickup trucks collided head-on.

Following initial impact, Meals’ vehicle caught fire, according to Trooper Jones.

Meals and a passenger – 27-year-old Cody J. Cotherman of Knox – were pronounced dead at the scene by Clarion County Coroner Randall Stom.

It is unknown whether Meals and Cotherman were wearing safety belts.

Trooper Jones was dispatched to the scene where he found a blue Chevrolet Colorado and a gold Chevrolet Silverado still in contact with each other, with two occupants still inside the Colorado. Trooper Jones then approached an EMS worker who was providing aid to Brandon Tyler Switzer.

According to the complaint, Switzer, who was laying on a gurney, said he was traveling east on State Route 208. Switzer said “I think he was trying to get my attention.” He said that Meals came into his lane, and he tried to swerve away at the last second, but it was too late. Switzer also said the occupants of the other vehicle were his friends – Dylan Meals and “probably his brother Cody Cotherman.”

Switzer, who was wearing a safety belt, was transported to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh for treatment of serious injuries.

Trooper Jones then spoke with a paramedic for who related that when Switzer was asked if he had any illegal drugs or alcohol that day, he stated he had smoked marijuana about an hour prior to the crash.

According to the complaint, Switzer consented to a blood draw, which found 11-Hydroxy Delta-9 THC 1.2+/-0.2, Delta-9 Carboxy THC 31+/-6, Delta-9 THC 3.5+/-0.7, Fentanyl 0.52+/-0.1 contained in his blood.

The charge against Switzer was filed through Magisterial District Judge Amy Long Turk’s office on Tuesday, February 12.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19, with Judge Turk presiding.

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