Meredith Williams-Earle, 30, had a blood-alcohol content just above the legal limit about 10:30 that Tuesday morning when her Toyota Prius struck the Valley Forge Flower Company van driven by Winston Staats at Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue, authorities said.
The van flipped, and Staats was pronounced dead at the scene. Williams-Earle and her 2-year-old son were not seriously injured, authorities said.
The full press release is below:
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Lower Merion Police Superintendent Michael J. McGrath announce the filing of charges against Meredith Williams-Earle for Homicide by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence and related charges. These charges stem from an August 6, 2013 crash at the intersection of Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue in the Bryn Mawr section of Lower Merion where Williams-Earle struck a van, fatally injuring the seventy –two year old driver.
On Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM, the Lower Merion Township Police Department responded to a report of a serious crash involving an overturned vehicle and trapped driver at the intersection of Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue. Officers located the victim, Winston Staats, who had been partially ejected through the driver’s door window and was pinned beneath the vehicle. Staats was determined to be deceased with no signs of life by Paramedics. On August 7, 2013, a post mortem examination was conducted by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. The cause of death was determined to be multiple injuries as a result of a motor vehicle crash.
The investigation revealed that Staats was operating a Valley Forge Flower Company van and attempting to turn onto Morris Avenue when Williams-Earle’s Toyota Prius was speeding and failed to stop for a posted stop sign. The defendant’s car rammed the driver’s side of the van. The impact of the collision flipped the van over and caused Staats to be partially ejected. The van then rolled on top of Staats.
Officers spoke with Williams-Earle on scene, and detected the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage and noticed that Williams-Earle’s eyes were glassy and her speech was slightly slurred. A blue plastic cup was observed sitting on the passenger side floorboard, which also had the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage. Williams-Earle was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where a blood sample was taken. Laboratory analysis indicated that Williams-Earle’s Blood Alcohol Content was .098, which is above the legal limit in Pennsylvania. Additionally, Lorazepam (Ativan) was also found in Williams-Earle’s blood sample.
Williams-Earle’s two-year old son was a passenger in her vehicle as well, and was transported to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. An inspection of the child car seat in Williams-Earle’s vehicle determined that the seat had been improperly installed and was extremely loose.
Lower Merion Police filed a criminal complaint yesterday charging the Defendant with Homicide by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence, Homicide by Vehicle, Driving Under the Influence, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, and related traffic summaries.
The case will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Alec O’Neill.
The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned today, at 12:00 PM before Magisterial District Judge Henry Schireson, whose Court is located at 907 Montgomery Avenue in Narberth.