Court denies appeal of driver convicted of chase crash that injured officer

(WHTM File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania court has denied a new trial for an Adams County man convicted of a police pursuit that ended an officer’s career in 2010.

Lance L. Hawkes, of New Oxford, is serving 5½ to 11 years in prison for a crash that seriously injured Eastern Adams Regional Police Officer Richard Phillips. He was found guilty in November of aggravated assault of a police officer.

In his appeal to Superior Court, Hawkes argued there is insufficient evidence to show he acted with recklessness. In its opinion Tuesday, a three-judge panel said it found “sufficient evidence” to show Hawkes “acted with sustained recklessness in the face of an obvious risk of harm to Officer Phillips and the public at large.”

Phillips collided with a tractor-trailer after he followed the fleeing Hawkes through the intersection of Route 30 and Route 94 in Berwick Township. He sustained a traumatic brain injury, extensive broken facial bones, a broken leg, and other serious injuries.

Hawkes additionally argued his trial court erred in making certain factual determinations. He said the truck driver told police he ran a red light while another witness told officers the light was green. He also objected to the trial court’s characterization of the intersection as “busy” when the crash occurred at midnight, and he said the trial court erred in finding that he was traveling 80-100 m.p.h. when a witnesses stated he was driving 80-90 m.p.h.

Superior Court deemed that challenge meritless and ruled a new trial should not be granted because of a mere conflict in the testimony.

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