A Reading man fleeing police intentionally crawled under a bulldozer that ran over and killed him near a marijuana growing operation last month, investigators said Tuesday.
Berks County District Attorney John Adams said the death of Gregory Longenecker on July 9 was accidental.
Adams said Longenecker, 51, crawled under the bulldozer when it came to a brief 30-second stop in an area of heavy brush. When the dozer turned left and traveled about 10 more feet, Longenecker became caught under the treads.
An autopsy found that Longenecker was under the influence of methadone, amphetamine, and marijuana at the time of his death, and the levels of methadone and methamphetamine were in the toxic level.
“The decedent’s judgment, perception and coordination would have been considerably impaired at the time of his death due to this intoxication,” the autopsy report states.
A Pennsylvania Game Commission employee was using the bulldozer to clear the heavy brush on state game lands near Bernville and called police when he saw a car parked in a field where vehicles were not permitted. Two men came out of a wooded area, spotted the officers and ran.
Police found several marijuana plants surrounded by a chicken wire fence near the men’s vehicle.
One of the men, 54-year-old David Light of Sinking Spring, was taken into custody and charged with drug offenses and trespassing.
Troopers in a helicopter spotted Longenecker running through thick underbrush that was too dense to walk through, so the game commission workers used the bulldozer to open a trail. Longenecker was found dead behind the bulldozer.
“It is unfortunate that a life was lost and our condolences go out to the Longenecker family,” Adams said. “However, I support the actions of the Pennsylvania State Police. Their efforts were reasonable and conducted in a safe manner.”