Homicide charge added in crash that killed high school grad

A Lancaster County man has been charged with criminal homicide for a crash that killed a recent graduate of Lampeter-Strasburg High School.

Authorities announced the additional charge and others Friday against 29-year-old Thomas J. Gallagher Jr. of New Providence.

According to charging documents filed by West Lampeter Township police, Gallagher was under the influence of heroin and alcohol July 8 when he crashed into 18-year-old Meredith Demko’s car on Lampeter Road.

Demko graduated from high school a month earlier.

Two witnesses told police that Gallagher passed their vehicles on the berm before he crossed into oncoming traffic and struck Demko’s car, the criminal complaint states.

Police said they found a syringe and hypodermic needle in Gallagher’s VW Jetta and small, empty plastic baggies among his personal belongings.

He also tested positive for heroin and had a blood-alcohol content higher than .16 percent, the complaint states.

Gallagher was additionally charged with 12 other counts including homicide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle while DUI, aggravated assault by vehicle, and aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI.

He was previously charged last month for accidents involving death or injury while not properly licensed. Court records show he has a prior DUI conviction.

With the new charges, his bail at Lancaster County Prison was increased from $250,000 to $1,25 million.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled September 3.

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