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Man accused of DUI at 101 mph arrested in crash that killed girlfriend

WHITEHALL BOROUGH, Pa. — A man accused of driving drunk is now behind bars, having been wanted for causing a December crash that killed a woman in Whitehall, according to police.

Investigators said 24-year-old Tyler Degraffenreid was driving 101 mph on Brownsville Road, which has a posted speed limit of 35 mph, when he crashed on Dec. 15. His girlfriend, 23-year-old Victoria Verscharen, was in the passenger seat and did not survive.

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Police said Degraffenreid admitted to drinking “numerous beers and several shots of whiskey,” as well as smoking marijuana, according to a criminal complaint. He also said he was driving fast and recklessly.

Authorities said Degraffenreid’s blood alcohol level was 0.205.

Degraffenreid claimed an animal ran in front of his car as he approached a turn, and he accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake, and the car rolled, police said.

Initial reports at the time of the crash were that Verscharen had been the driver.

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Verscharen was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, the impact of which sent her body through the car’s moon roof, investigators said.

Degraffenreid is charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI, homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, DUI and reckless driving.


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