Driver had 5 DUIs before fatal crash with motorcycle

April 29, 2013 3:33:06 PM PDT
According to court records, the man behind the wheel in the death of a motorcyclist in Chester County has pleaded guilty five times to DUI in the past.

49-year-old Robert Elwood Landis of West Chester showed signs of intoxication and failed a series of sobriety tests, police say, after the pickup he was driving pulled in front of an oncoming motorcycle Friday night.

The crash happened around 10:28 p.m. near the intersection of SR 202 (Wilmington Pike) at Stanton Avenue in Westtown Township.

24-year-old Liam Crowley of Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania was riding a 2005 Triumph motorcycle north on SR 202 when Landis' pickup truck turned off High Street, making a left onto Stanton Avenue - in front of the oncoming motorcycle.

Crowley's motorcycle crashed into the passenger side of the 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Crowley suffered serious injuries and was taken to Paoli Hospital where he later died.

Landis was arrested at the scene for allegedly driving under the influence, as well as driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a previous DUI and other traffic offenses.

Criminal charges have not yet been filed pending a toxicology report for Friday's incident.

Landis is currently being held at Chester County Prison on a parole violation.

Landis lives in a pleasant home not far from the crash site.

Action News went to find more about his drinking and driving.

His nephew declined an on-camera interview but told us his uncle had served time in prison for the DUIs.

The nephew also said he feels terrible about what occurred and extended his condolences to the Crowley family.

In Pennsylvania, repeat DUI offenders like Landis often must use a device called an alcohol ignition interlock that can prevent a car from starting if a would-be driver has been drinking.

It's not clear why Landis did not have such an device. It may be because his license was suspended, though he was eligible to have it restated under current law.

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan would like to see the law changed and that chronic offenders lose their privilege to drive period.

"Will it make a difference? It might make a difference for one person. It might make a difference for the gentleman who was hit on his motorcycle and is now dead and his family," Hogan said.

The accident remains under investigation.

Westtown-East Goshen police are asking anyone with information to call 610-692-5100.