Sunday, March 15, 2009

DA Martin, a YEAR to file charges in a DUI Death? You've got some explaining to do.

[March 2010 UpDate: After taking a YEAR to file charges, DA Martin needed another YEAR to get a guilty plea from Gregory Williams. And during these TWO YEARS, Williams, who had crashed into a house hundreds of feet off route 22, killing Shaun Buenzly in the process, was free, and free to keep driving. We believe the citizens of Lehigh County deserve faster service and better protection from its DA]

Eighteen minutes after the bars closed on Sunday morning March 16, 2008 (i.e., a YEAR ago), 23 year-old Parkland grad Shaun Buenzly was killed in a car crash on Route 22 near the Lehigh Valley Mall. Buenzly was a passenger in the back seat of a car driven by Gregory Williams, 23.

State police at Bethlehem told The Morning Call that Williams was driving at a high rate of speed before losing control of his vehicle, leaving the roadway, traveling up a 200 foot dirt embankment, hitting several trees, and a house-- and killing Shaun Buenzly in the process who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver Gregory Williams and a front-seat passenger, Adam Bortz, 22, had moderate injuries and were taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest.

On March 20, 2008 (i.e., a YEAR ago), The Morning Call reported that State police at Bethlehem were "seeking the public's help" in locating a "second car" that may have had "possible involvement" in the fatal crash.

The "newspaper" gave a detailed description of the second car being sought and named a State Trooper to contact if the public had information on the vehicle or its owner.

A YEAR would go by before The Morning Call had anything further to report on the tragic car crash death of Shaun Buenzly.

Last week (i.e., a YEAR later), "no nonsense" (wink wink) Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin finally announced criminal charges in this case.

According to The Morning Call's report from last week, DA Jim Martin alleges that Gregory Williams was driving drunk when he killed Shaun Buenzly. How does DA Martin know this? Turns out Lehigh Valley Hospital extracted a .13 blood alcohol content on Williams the morning of the fatal crash-- a YEAR ago.

Oh, and remember that cryptic "second car" the police and The Morning Call were seeking the public's help in locating?

Turns out the driver of that car, Jamie Torres, had turned himself in to police "a few days later," a YEAR ago.

Somehow, The Morning Call, had, um, missed reporting on, this Morning Call-solicited "break in the case" from a YEAR ago ... until they mentioned it, in passing, in their coverage of Jumbo Jimbo filing charges last week.

In a nutshell, DA Jim Martin had everything he needed to file criminal charges in the apparent (and alleged) DUI homicide death of Shaun Buenzly within days of the fatal crash a YEAR ago.

So what took DA Jim Martin a YEAR to file charges.

"District Attorney James Martin said his office was unable to conclude whether charges were warranted until Feb. 24 [my note: and that's Feb. 24 a YEAR later] when it received results of forensic tests that were done at the state police lab in Harrisburg. Those results were not available."

Also apparently not available (and obviously not even asked by "reporter" Manny Gamiz) was this followup question Lehigh Valley Somebody is asking DA Jim Martin and The Morning Call here:

What were the forensic tests that took a YEAR to complete? Please explain.

3/19/11 Editor's Note: Readers, if you're looking for "reporter" Manny Gamiz's original final sentence quoting DA Jim Martin's "waiting on forensic test results" excuse for needing a YEAR to file charges against Gregory Williams, as reprinted above in our original post, you won't find it in the Morning Call's archived article. That original final sentence appears to have been deleted from The Morning Call archives to shield DA Jim Martin from scrutiny. Stay tuned for confirmation.

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