Bethany Gee

Bethany C. Gee

A 19-year-old Ephrata woman accused of causing the death a friend while speeding and driving under the influence of various drugs in May waived a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

Bethany C. Gee faces charges of vehicular homicide for the death of Stephanie M. Gerola, 20, of Ephrata, after the May 13 crash in West Cocalico Township.

According to the affidavit, Gee “admitted to driving the vehicle, inhaling methamphetamine earlier in the evening and smoking marijuana as she drove, just prior to the collision.”

She also told police that she sped up after seeing a police car driving in the opposite direction and “thought the police officer was going to come after her.”

A preliminary hearing was scheduled Thursday before District Judge Nancy Hamill. Waiving a preliminary hearing typically means the defendant doesn’t admit guilt but concedes there is sufficient evidence to support the charges.

A formal arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 28 in courtroom A in Lancaster County Courthouse. Gee is free on $50,000 unsecured bail.

She is charged with two felony counts: homicide by vehicle and homicide by vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance. She also is charged with three counts of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, and several charges related to reckless driving and DUI.

Police said Gee was driving 60 to 68 mph in a 35-mph speed zone on West Queen Street and drove through a stop sign at King Street at 11:41 p.m. May 13. She lost control of the station wagon she was driving while attempting to maneuver through the intersection, police said.

The vehicle struck a wall on East Queen Street, just east of King, and rolled.

Gerola, in the front passenger seat, died as a result of the collision. Gee and three passengers in the back seat were treated at local hospitals for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Toxicology results indicated that Gee was under the influence of both methamphetamine and marijuana, according to the report.

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