Lititz teen gets jail for DUI death of his best friend
BY BRETT HAMBRIGHT, Staff Writer
A Lititz teenager will spend at least three years in a state prison for driving drunk during a crash last summer that killed his "best friend."
Christian Mark Will, now 19, was playing with an iPhone -- cycling through music on the device -- as he sped through a turn and his car veered off Owl Hill Road on July 5, police reported.
Dylan Dieffenbach, Will's 18-year-old passenger and recent classmate at Warwick High School, was killed in the crash.
Will, who had a blood-alcohol content of .085 percent and marijuana in his system, was injured, according to police.
He spent his first days in prison this weekend after a Lancaster County judge ordered Friday morning that he be jailed immediately after a sentencing hearing.
Judge James Cullen ordered a 3-to-6-year prison sentence on charges of homicide by vehicle while DUI and multiple variations of DUI. Three years is the state's mandatory minimum on a conviction of vehicular homicide while DUI.
Assistant District Attorney Todd Brown said no one testified at Friday's short hearing. The prosecutor said Will has been in contact with Dieffenbach's family as the two teens were "best friends," according to Will's attorney, Jeffrey Conrad.
"Christian is remorseful for his actions and will forever mourn the loss of his best friend," Conrad said after the hearing. "It is his hope that other young people will learn from his tragic mistake that drinking and driving has devastating consequences."
The Dieffenbachs wanted Will to "take responsibility" for the crime, but didn't request penalty beyond the mandatory minimum, Brown said.
Will had been free on $75,000 bail the past 10 months after Northern Lancaster County Regional police filed charges June 2.
Police outline the crash this way in an arrest affidavit:
Will was driving west on Owl Hill Road when he lost control of a Chrysler LHS and it struck an embankment, rolled onto its roof and hit a tree, police said. Dieffenbach was trapped in the car.
A deputy coroner pronounced Dieffenbach dead at the scene. An autopsy showed Dieffenbach died of multiple traumatic injuries.
Tests indicated that Will had a blood-alcohol content of .085 percent two hours after the crash. Drivers in Pennsylvania are considered legally drunk if their blood-alcohol content is .08 or above.
Will told police he had three or four beers before driving and also had smoked marijuana, according to the affidavit.
Police determined Will's car was traveling about 20 mph too fast for the turn.
Both teenagers recently had graduated from Warwick High School.