MERCER – A Portersville woman who was on the state police “Most Wanted” list for an alleged drunken driving accident that injured her passenger has been arrested.
Cassady Jane Eckelberger, 23, was charged May 31 by state police in connection with the 2017 crash that happened in Liberty Township.
She’s facing charges of aggravated assault by vehicle, accident involving death or personal injury, drunken driving, drunken driving with a high blood alcohol level, recklessly endangering another person, driving without a license, driving with a suspended or revoked license, disregarding single traffic lane, speeding, careless driving, reckless driving, and restrictions on alcoholic beverages.
Pennsylvania State Police issued a warrant for Eckelberger’s arrest after the crash, and she was placed on the “Most Wanted” list out of Troop D in Butler. Details about her arrest weren’t immediately available.
All charges were held to the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas during a preliminary hearing Jan. 23 with District Judge D. Neil McEwen.
Her Common Pleas arraignment is set for 9 a.m. April 30 with Judge John C. Reed. She is free on bond.
According to the criminal complaint:
Police were dispatched at 11:54 p.m. Aug. 25, 2017, to a one-vehicle crash on Courtney Mill Road. One person was thrown from the vehicle, and one was trapped.
The vehicle reportedly went off the road and down an embankment near Beatty Road, hitting a drainage culvert and a tree before coming to a stop in a field.
The driver, later identified as Eckelberger, had to be cut out of the vehicle by firefighters. Her passenger – a woman – was found on the edge of the road.
Police noticed multiple open cans of beer in the vehicle on the driver’s side floor and in the backseat.
Both women were flown to hospitals, Eckelberger to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, and her passenger to St. Elizabeth Hospital, Youngstown.
Police interviewed Eckelberger on Sept. 19, 2017, and she confirmed that she had been driving. She was wearing her seat belt and claimed she was driving between 35 to 45 miles per hour.
She and the passenger were heading out to buy cigarettes, and they decided to drive around before going home.
Eckelberger said she came to dip in the road on Courtney Mill, then hit loose gravel. She hit the brakes, which locked up, then it “got bumpy.”
When she woke up, her dog and the other woman were not in the vehicle. Eckelberger said she hadn’t been drinking, but she did have two glasses of wine with dinner around 5 p.m. the night of the crash.
On Feb. 28, 2018, a search warrant for Eckelberger’s medical records showed that her blood alcohol content at the time of the crash was 0.198 percent, which is nearly 2½ times over the legal limit.
The passenger was still hospitalized with “severe injuries” when the charges were filed in May.
The accident reconstruction report showed that she was driving between 99 and 108 miles per hour when she crashed.