Drunk Driver Who Killed Man Standing in Yard Pleads Guilty to Homicide by Vehicle While DUI

| October 10, 2019

RICHLAND TWP., Pa. (EYT) – A drunk driver who struck and killed a Clarion County man in May pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and two other charges on Wednesday.

Mitchel Allen Davenport, 24, of Clarion, entered guilty pleas on the following charges on Wednesday, October 9:

– Homicide by Vehicle While DUI, Felony 2
– Aggravated Assault By Vehicle While DUI, Felony 2
– DUI: Highest Rate of Alcohol (BAC .16+) 1st Offense, Misdemeanor

As a result of the plea agreement, the following charges were dismissed:

– Aggravated Assault, Felony 1
– Homicide By Vehicle, Felony 3
– DUI: General Impairment/Incompetent of Driving Safely – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor
– Involuntary Manslaughter, Misdemeanor 1
– Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 2
– Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
– Disregard Traffic Lane (Single), Summary
– Driving at Safe Speed, Summary
– Careless Driving, Summary
– Reckless Driving, Summary
– Driving While Operator Privilege Suspended Or Revoked, Summary
– Rec’d Sus’d Fict Alt’d Etc Drivers License, Summary

Davenport remains lodged in the Clarion County Jail on $75,000.00 cash bail.

He is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 20, with Clarion County President Judge James G. Arner presiding.

The charges stem from a crash that occurred on May 4 at the intersection of Route 338 and Ritts Farm Road, in Richland Township, Clarion County.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Trooper Dubovi, of Clarion-based State Police, he was dispatched around 11:24 p.m. on May 4 to a one-vehicle collision that occurred at the above-described location. When he arrived on the scene, he observed a maroon Chevrolet Silverado stuck in mud in the lower portion of the yard located at 1304 Route 338, Emlenton, Pa. He observed tire marks in the grass exiting Route 338 and traveling into a yard through an animal pen and to its point of final rest.

The complaint states that Trooper Dubovi observed a male in the back of an ambulance departing for Clarion Hospital. An EMT assessing the male advised Trooper Dubovi that the man was found inside the debris of the animal pen upon their arrival. The man identified as Jerrold E. Dehart was pronounced dead upon his arrival to the Clarion Hospital due to trauma to the head, neck, and torso as a result of the collision.

According to the complaint, the operator of the Silverado approached Trooper Dubovi upon his arrival and stated that he was driving the truck. He was identified as Mitchel A. Davenport via a suspended Pennsylvania driver’s license. Davenport stated that he was traveling from a known bar in Knox where he had consumed beer and several shots of liquor before leaving. A known female passenger of the Silverado was also on the scene. She stated that he was driving her home from the known bar “because he was the more sober of the two.” She also related that she was the owner of the vehicle. She indicated that she was in the front passenger seat at the time of the collision.

While on the scene, Trooper Ryan Drayer advised Trooper Dubovi that there was another pedestrian who was struck by the Silverado. The second pedestrian stated that she and Dehart were inside the animal pen when they were struck by a vehicle. She suffered serious injuries to her leg and head from the collision with the Silverado.

Standardized field sobriety tests were conducted on Davenport. A strong odor of alcohol emanated from his person and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot. He did not perform the tests as instructed and demonstrated signs of impairment consistent with being under the influence of alcohol. He was asked to submit to a preliminary test of blood at the Clarion Emergency Room to help determine his level of intoxication, and the results indicated a 0.176% BAC (Blood Alcohol Content), according to the complaint.

(Photo of Clarion County Courthouse by Jim Hoover.)

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