A Lancaster man will serve up to a decade in prison for being under the influence of drugs when he caused a crash in Ephrata Township that seriously injured a woman.
Joseph Braun, 66, pleaded guilty in January to aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, and DUI regarding the Oct. 21, 2016, crash on East Mohler Church Road.
On Friday, Lancaster County Judge Howard Knisely sentenced Braun to 5 to 10 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Ande Gonzalez said in court that Braun was charged less than a month earlier with DUI under similar circumstances: Braun was driving under the influence of drugs and veered into oncoming traffic. Fortunately in that case, no one was injured.
Braun knew the risk and still drove on Oct. 21, 2016, Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez also noted that Friday’s hearing was Braun’s 24th appearance in Lancaster County Court on criminal matters.
Regarding the crash, Braun was seen veering out of his lane before going straight at a hard right curve, striking a vehicle occupied by three people. The impact pinned that vehicle to a wall.
A rear-seat passenger sustained major injuries, including fractures to her pelvis, neck, and leg. She spent four months in a hospital.
Blood testing revealed levels of Clonazepam, cocaine, methadone and morphine in Braun’s system. The cocaine and morphine were not from prescriptions.
Judge Knisely said he considered Braun’s medical conditions, but the innocent victim’s injuries far outweighed that when forming an appropriate sentence, which included the maximum allowable term for aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI.
As part of sentence, Braun must pay $19,256 in restitution.
Ephrata police filed charges.
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