Guilty plea in crash death of Philadelphia police officer Brian Lorenzo

PHILADELPHIA - October15, 2013

Today was supposed to be the first day of the trial for 47-year-old John Leck Jr. of Levittown. But instead, Leck pleaded guilty to 3rd degree murder and homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence in the July 8, 2012 crash that killed Officer Brian Lorenzo.

Before Leck entered his guilty plea, the prosecutor reviewed the evidence that would have been used against him. It was gruesome and gut wrenching for the family of Officer Lorenzo to sit through.

It was 3:15 a.m. and the 23-year veteran of the force had just finished his shift.

Police say Lorenzo was going 68 miles per hour northbound, Leck was doing 65 southbound. The state trooper investigating the case at the time said it looked like a bomb had gone off at the scene.

Authorities said Leck, whose blood alcohol level was almost three times the legal limit, ignored "do not enter" signs and drove his Audi the wrong way on Interstate 95, traveling southbound in the northbound lanes for a half mile before slamming into Lorenzo's motorcycle near Cottman Avenue.

Lorenzo was in full uniform riding on his Highway Patrol motorcycle when the accident happened. Authorities say he was killed instantly.

One witness testified that, prior to the crash, Officer Lorenzo had pulled along her northbound car and nodded in such a way to cause her to check her speed.

"She realized she was speeding. She backed off and slowed down," said Coelho.

Fighting back sobs, the witness said in the next instant there was a loud boom, the motorcycle went down and the officer flew into the air.

Lorenzo was survived by his wife, Linda, and three young children.

There was a strong show of support on Tuesday for Linda Lorenzo and her family, who were under full police escort as they left court today. They still have a civil lawsuit pending against Leck and the TGI Fridays restaurant that served him the alcohol the night of the crash.

As for the criminal trial, Leck is facing 20 to 40 years in prison. Sentencing has been set for December 2nd.

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