close
close

Two men have pleaded not guilty to charges over an illegal racing-related crash that killed a Hatfield woman

Aidan Thomas Jarrett, 19, of Quakertown, left, and Evan Robert Buckman, 20, of Marlborough Township, Montgomery County, have been charged with vehicular homicide in a Hatfield Township crash that left a woman dead. (Courtesy of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office)

NORRISTOWN – Two men, one from Montgomery County and one from Bucks County, could be tried as early as September on charges that they were racing their vehicles at speeds between 95 and 110 mph when they caused a crash in Hatfield Township that killed people died. a Hatfield woman who was a passenger in another vehicle.

Aidan Thomas Jarrett, 19, of the 300 block of Erie Avenue, Quakertown, Bucks County, and Evan Robert Buckman, 20, of the 4000 block of East Campbell Road, Marlborough Township, each appeared at their formal hearings in Montgomery County Court on Monday where they have entered not guilty pleas to vehicular homicide and related charges in connection with the 8:41 p.m., May 17, 2023 crash at Bethlehem Pike and Bergey Road in Hatfield Township that killed and seriously injured 62-year-old Ida Lillo of Hatfield the driver of the vehicle in which Lillo was a passenger was injured.

Judge Wendy G. Rothstein said she wants to hold the four-day trial in September. Deputy District Attorney Thomas W. McGoldrick, who heads the trials, said he must consult with his witnesses about their availability before the judge sets the exact date for September.

Attorney Matthew Quigg, who represents Buckman, and attorney Gregory Francis Mitsch, who represents Jarrett, told the judge they would be available for trial in the third or fourth week of September.

Aidan Jarrett leaves a Montgomery County courtroom on May 20, 2024, after being formally charged with vehicular homicide.  (Photo by Carl Hessler Jr. - MediaNews Group)
Aidan Jarrett leaves a Montgomery County courtroom on May 20, 2024, after being formally charged with vehicular homicide. (Photo by Carl Hessler Jr. / MediaNews Group)

Buckman, who was 19 at the time of the crash, and Jarrett, who was 18 at the time of the crash, did not address the judge Monday and allowed their attorneys to speak on their behalf. The couple was supported in court by family members and they remain free on $50,000 unsecured bail pending their next hearings.

Specifically, Buckman is being tried on charges of homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle, recklessly endangering other persons, illegal racing, speeding and reckless driving in connection with the incident.

Jarrett faces identical charges and an additional charge of simple assault.

Evan Buckman leaves a Montgomery County courtroom on May 20, 2024, after being formally charged with vehicular homicide.  (Photo by Carl Hessler Jr. - MediaNews Group)
Evan Buckman leaves a Montgomery County courtroom on May 20, 2024, after being formally charged with vehicular homicide. (Photo by Carl Hessler Jr. / MediaNews Group)

With the charges, investigators alleged Jarrett was speeding while racing southbound on Bethlehem Pike with Buckman, when the front bumper of Jarrett’s vehicle struck the passenger door of a vehicle in which Lillo was a passenger.

The investigation began when Hatfield police responded to reports of a two-vehicle crash at Bethlehem Pike and Bergey Road involving a red 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer driven by Jarrett and a silver 2015 Nissan Frontier driven by Louis Lillo III. Ida Lillo as driver. passenger, according to the criminal complaint filed by Hatfield Township Police Officer William J. Summerfield.

“As a result of this impact, the Mitsubishi suffered serious front-end damage and a fire broke out in the engine compartment. The Nissan suffered severe damage to the front passenger side door, causing heavy entry into the passenger compartment, and subsequently lifted off the ground and spun before rolling through the intersection,” Summerfield alleged in the complaint, explaining de Lillo . The vehicle came to rest on the driver’s side in the southwest corner of the intersection and both occupants were trapped.

Aidan Jarrett (Photo courtesy of the Montgomery County District Attorney)
Aidan Jarrett (Photo courtesy of the Montgomery County District Attorney)

As a result of the impact, Ida Lillo was thrown from the passenger seat into the driver’s seat of the Nissan and suffered “catastrophic injuries.” She was transported to the Grand View Hospital Trauma Center, where she died from her injuries.

Louis Lillo, the driver of the Nissan, suffered serious injuries, including fractures and lacerations, police said.

A third vehicle, a yellow Nissan 350Z driven by Buckman, was also at the scene but was not damaged, police said.

At the scene, Jarrett allegedly told arriving officers that he was “exceeding the speed limit.” When asked to estimate his speed, Jarrett allegedly responded, “uhhh pretty fast” and “Uhhh a hundred,” according to the complaint.

Police found video footage from two area businesses that recorded the crash.

Evan Buckman (Photo courtesy of the Montgomery County District Attorney)
Evan Buckman (Photo courtesy of the Montgomery County District Attorney)

Based on witness interviews and surveillance video, investigators determined that Jarrett and Buckman’s vehicles were racing at a high rate of speed before the fatal crash. A witness driving at 90 km per hour told police that the red Mitsubishi “passed me like I was sitting still” and another witness indicated that when the Mitsubishi passed her it “made her worry tremble,” according to the report. court papers.

Video surveillance footage showed that at approximately 8:39 p.m., the Lillos’ vehicle was traveling northbound when it began turning left from Bethlehem Pike onto Bergey Road. Jarrett’s Mitsubishi, which was traveling southbound, collided with the Nissan, hitting the passenger door with such force that the vehicle ended up on its side and went through the intersection.

Two seconds after the crash, Buckman’s Nissan vehicle passed the crash site, applied the brakes and then pulled into a nearby parking lot.

A post-crash inspection of Jarrett’s Mitsubishi found no mechanical problems that could have contributed to the crash. Data from Mitsubishi’s airbag device showed that the Mitsubishi was traveling at 180.6 km/h in the 90 km/h zone for 4.9 seconds before the crash.

After analyzing video surveillance, crash investigators calculated that Buckman’s yellow Nissan was traveling about 90 mph at one point during the racing incident, court documents show.

“The crash reconstruction revealed that the speed of the red Mitsubishi caused this crash,” Summerfield alleged, adding that the speed at which Jarrett was allegedly traveling was “not reasonable and prudent for the roadway” and was driven with “a complete reckless and wanton disregard for the safety of other persons or property.”

“Based on my investigation, I believe that both Mr. Jarrett and Mr. Buckman were traveling together to demonstrate the speed of their vehicles and to race their vehicles on a highway,” Summerfield alleged.

See more at Mainline Media News