Police: Driver used drugs before hitting family headed to Farm Show


A Harrisburg man was under the influence of illegal drugs when he crashed into a pickup truck carrying a family of six headed to the Pennsylvania Farm Show, according to charging documents.

Police said medical records of 28-year-old John Barber indicated positive results for amphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. Barber also admitted to investigators that he was speeding and had smoked marijuana about 20 minutes before the crash, Harrisburg police said in the criminal complaint.

Barber ran a red light at North Sixth and Forster streets on the morning of January 12 and struck the 2019 Ram 1500 in the front driver’s side.

The pickup driver was ejected and sustained critical injuries. The passengers, two adults and three children, were taken to hospitals for treatment of minor to moderate injuries.

Two children were 3-year-old twins, and an adult woman reported that she was 15 weeks pregnant.

Barber sustained serious injuries but was released from a hospital three days later. He is in Dauphin County Prison without bail.

Police said he fled a traffic stop minutes before the crash but a pursuit was terminated. The stop was for an expired registration, and the officer reported that he smelled an odor of marijuana coming from his car.

A partially burnt marijuana blunt was found on the front passenger seat of the 2018 Honda Civic after the crash, police said.

Barber is charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, aggravated assault by vehicle, and accidents involving death or personal injury while not properly licensed, all felonies. 

Other charges include reckless endangerment, DUI, and summary traffic violations.

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