Motorist charged in Rhoades' death

January 14, 2009 10:35:42 AM PST
A Carbon County man is charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence in a head-on crash that killed a veteran state lawmaker. State police say 45-year-old Thomas Senavitis had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit for driving when his pickup truck crossed over the center line and plowed into Sen. James Rhoades' Cadillac on Oct. 17 in the Poconos.

Rhoades, a seven-term Republican from Schuylkill County, died the following day. His wife Mary was seriously injured.

Senavitis, who lives near Lehighton, was also charged Wednesday with vehicular aggravated assault while under the influence, vehicular homicide, drunken driving, reckless endangerment and several moving violations.

In an interview with The Associated Press last week, Senavitis denied responsibility for the crash and said alcohol played no role.

Senavitis told police in court documents that he only had one beer several hours before the crash.

Senavitis is scheduled to be arraigned later Wednesday.

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