Questions follow decision to not charge stepson of police officer

February 28, 2008 1:39:36 PM PST
The stepson of a state police corporal might have received preferential treatment after causing a fatal drunken-driving crash in the Poconos three years ago, an attorney for the victim's family said Thursday. Attorney Mark Tanner wrote to the attorney general and state police commissioner that a "serious crime has gone unpunished" because state police failed to adequately investigate the April 2005 crash in Wayne County.

"Either the investigation that was conducted by state police was extraordinarily inept, or alternatively, this young man got some preferential treatment that I don't think other citizens of this commonwealth would receive," Tanner told The Associated Press.

State police spokesman Jack Lewis told the AP that the investigation into the crash remains open, and that Tanner's letter has been referred to the state police Internal Affairs Division "for a determination of whether an internal investigation is warranted."

Dean O'Halloran, then 22, was drunk when he swerved over the center line with his box truck and slammed into a car driven by Diane Glynn, a single mother of three, Tanner said.

O'Halloran called his stepfather, state police Cpl. Michael McTavish, from the scene, Tanner said. A state police trooper then arrived to investigate the crash but failed to conduct a field sobriety test, nor did he ask O'Halloran to take a breath test or a blood-alcohol test, according to Tanner.

"Luckily, hospital personnel themselves requested blood alcohol testing on Mr. O'Halloran," Tanner wrote in a Feb. 21 letter to Attorney General Tom Corbett, state police commissioner Col.

Jeffrey Miller and Wayne County District Attorney Michael Lehutsky.

The test revealed that O'Halloran's blood-alcohol level more than two hours after the crash was 0.149, nearly twice the legal limit for driving, Tanner said.

O'Halloran was never prosecuted. Police say he also was involved in a hit-and-run accident less than three hours before he crashed into Glynn.

Tanner, of Philadelphia, represented Glynn's children in a civil suit against O'Halloran and his employer, Erie Materials Inc. of Scranton, for whom O'Halloran was driving at the time of the crash. The case was settled in early February for $11 million.