HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Are Pennsylvania’s DUI laws too lenient? The question is being asked following a Facebook post from a police chief following a double fatal crash.
On Saturday, police said Anthony Fickes lost control of his SUV and slammed into another vehicle on Old Trail Road in Newberry Township. Fickes was killed and so was Edna Mikos, a 66-year-old from York Haven who was a passenger in the other vehicle.
Police said they found open bottles and cans of alcohol inside Fickes’s vehicle.
Shortly after the crash, Newberry Township police Chief John Snyder posted a lengthy Facebook message. Part of the post which includes the phrase “bodies are piling up” calls for lawmakers to make tougher DUI laws.
The social media rant also includes a section where Snyder cites a study that says Pennsylvania DUI laws are some of the worst in the country.
“In my experience, there’s no question that Pennsylvania needs to take DUI cases more seriously than we do,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said. “There’s a number of areas I think we can improve upon. One of the things we talk about is repeat offenders.”
Stedman said he would like to see a system where repeat DUI offenders turn into felonies. He also said 32 other states have a penalty where DUI offenders lose their car if they’re convicted of a second DUI.
“I’m tired of seeing the innocent people getting killed by this stuff,” Stedman said. “We need to make a consequence such that it deters people.”
Police are still investigating the crash in York County.
C. Stephen Ernie, executive director of the Pennsylvania DUI Association, agreed that there is room for improvement.
“There is opportunity, of course, always to look at DUI as a very serious public health issue,” he said.
Snyder declined to elaborate on the post when ABC27 News reached out to him on Monday.
Ernie said he believes lawmakers will introduce legislation to put a stricter crackdown on DUI offenders.
“There’s some good news coming,” he said.
Rep. Keith Greiner (R-Lancaster) told ABC27 News he plans to introduce a repeat DUI offender felony bill.