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Truck driver pleads guilty, faces decades in prison for fatal I-83 crash that killed Middletown man, baby

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 6/4/19

Jack Edward Satterfield III, the Mississippi truck driver who while under the influence of alcohol caused the death of a Middletown man and his infant daughter during an Oct. 12 crash on Interstate …

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Truck driver pleads guilty, faces decades in prison for fatal I-83 crash that killed Middletown man, baby

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Jack Edward Satterfield III, the Mississippi truck driver who while under the influence of alcohol caused the death of a Middletown man and his infant daughter during an Oct. 12 crash on Interstate 83, faces more than 80 years in prison after pleading guilty to numerous charges in Dauphin County Court on Tuesday.

Video from inside the cab of the Volvo tractor-trailer Satterfield was driving was introduced into the record by District Attorney Fran Chardo during Satterfield’s guilty plea before Judge Deborah E. Curcillo.

A 20-second excerpt of the video posted on the DA’s Crimewatch site graphically shows the tractor-trailer at about 8:30 p.m. slamming from behind into a line of vehicles stopped in a construction zone near mile post 47 in the left-hand northbound lane.

The video shows Satterfield, 30, of McComb, not even appearing to slow down before running into the vehicles. He was driving 63 mph, Chardo said, and the road was dry.

One of the first cars Satterfield hit was a 1996 Eagle Vision driven by 24-year-old Zachary Lybrand, and carrying 16-month old Elliana, the daughter of Zachary and his wife, Jessica Lybrand, who all lived in Middletown.

Zachary Lybrand and Elliana were both killed in the crash, from smoke inhalation and thermal burns.

 

WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO -- Dash cam video from the fatal accident on Interstate 83 in October 2018 that killed a Middletown man and his infant daughter. Truck driver Jack Satterfield III of Mississippi has pleaded guilty to multiple charges.

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The impact caused a chain reaction that involved 12 vehicles and also resulted in the death of Ethan Van Bochoven, a 22-year-old Messiah College senior from Pompton Plains, New Jersey.

According to arrest papers, Satterfield later would tell State Police that he had consumed three large Margaritas and a beer while at a Mexican restaurant in New Jersey before driving to Pennsylvania.

Satterfield also had an empty six-pack of beer and Jagermeister in the cab of the truck. Video from the cab showed that Satterfield had been drinking several bottles as he drove the tractor-trailer from New Jersey, Chardo said in a post on the Crimewatch site.

After the crash, Satterfield left from the driver’s side window of his truck. About one hour after the crash, Satterfield was spotted among a crowd of people standing in the parking lot of the Best Western Hotel at 800 East Park Drive.

Watching the scene of the crash wearing socks and no shoes, Satterfield was recognized by Lower Paxton Township Police Officer Zethan Weary from a picture Weary had seen of Satterfield provided by Dauphin County dispatchers.

After calling on the radio for backup, Weary and another officer who arrived detained Satterfield, who had started walking away with a stagger or limp, according to the narrative Chardo posted on the Crimewatch site.

Satterfield smelled of alcohol and spoke with slurred speech, the DA said.

At 11:19 p.m., nearly three hours after the crash, Satterfield consented to a blood draw that showed his blood-alcohol percentage to be 0.152 percent.

Satterfield pleaded guilty June 4 to three counts of homicide by vehicle while DUI, three counts of homicide by vehicle, three counts of leaving the scene of a fatal crash, and related offenses.

Satterfield has been held in Dauphin County Prison without bail since Oct. 13. He is to be sentenced by Curcillo on Aug. 6, following completion of a presentence investigation.

Chardo said there was no plea agreement, and that Satterfield pleaded guilty to all of the original charges except for three felony counts of an accident involving personal injury by someone who was not properly licensed.

Chardo said he could not approve the charge, as the DA could not prove that Satterfield had received notice that his license had been suspended.

Satterfield’s license had been suspended after he had pleaded guilty in Mississippi to possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, according to a lawsuit filed by Jessica Lybrand in Philadelphia County court in late October.

The lawsuit said that Satterfield at the time of the accident had an outstanding warrant out for his arrest filed in Cumberland County Court for a fare evasion traffic citation Satterfield had received April 14.

Even without the three license suspension counts, Satterfield faces up to 81 years in prison based on the charges he pleaded guilty to, the district attorney  said.

The minimum sentence is from 9 to 18 years in prison, according to Chardo.

Chardo in the Crimewatch post said that he and the victims’ families “intend to seek maximum sentences based upon the circumstances of the offenses.”

Jessica Lybrand was in the courtroom, weeping and clutching a large picture of Elliana before the dash cam video from inside Satterfield’s tractor-trailer started playing, according to a story posted by PennLive.

When the video came on, she wailed loudly as two county victim services workers hugged her, and tried to keep from breaking down as well.

“She was staring right at you!” Jessica Lybrand yelled at Satterfield, according to PennLive. Elliana would have been sitting in her car seat facing the rear of the car, when the tractor-trailer driven by Satterfield smashed into the rear of the vehicle.

The lawsuit Lybrand filed through attorneys in Philadelphia County court seeks damages from Satterfield, the company he drove for — Greentree Logistics of Lakeville, Minnesota — and J.D. Eckman Inc. of Atglen, the company that was awarded the $104.7 million contract for the I-83 construction project.

The law firm did not respond to a request for comment.