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Drunken, Speeding Driver Sentenced In I-95 Crash That Killed 2 In PA

Kevin Peters was convicted of killing Juan Jose Tavarez-Santelises, 20, and Claribel Dominguez, 35,
Kevin Peters was convicted of killing Juan Jose Tavarez-Santelises, 20, and Claribel Dominguez, 35, Photo Credit: GoFundMe photo/Bucks County DA

A 38-year-old DUI driver was sentenced Friday to 19 ½ to 39 years in state prison for his role in a high-speed crash that killed two people and seriously injured two others on I-95 nearly two years ago, authorities said.

Kevin R. Peters was convicted by a Bucks County jury last month of two counts each of third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, homicide by vehicle while DUI, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, and related charges.

Peters was driving a Mazda CX-5 more than 100 miles per hour when he rear-ended a minivan around 1 a.m. on Dec. 6, 2019, in the southbound lane of I-95 in Bristol Township, causing the minivan to veer off the roadway into the shoulder where it collided with the concrete barrier, according to the Bucks County District Attorney's Office.

That's when the vehicle burst into flames, killing backseat passengers Juan Jose Tavarez-Santelises, 20, and Claribel Dominguez, 35, both of Philadelphia who were unable to get out, the DA's office said.

The driver and front passenger -- the father and brother of Tavarez-Santelises -- each suffered severe burns and injuries but managed to survive.

“To see your son die, to see your son in the middle of all that fire, it was horrible,” Juan Alberto Tavarez said in court Friday.

Data from the Mazda’s onboard computer showed Peters was traveling at a speed of at least 106 miles per hour in the seconds just prior to the crash.

The data also showed Peters applied the brake no more than 4/10 of a second prior to impact and the throttle on his SUV was at 85 percent of full capacity, one second prior to impact, authorities said.

Peters allegedly had been drinking at a work function in Philadelphia that began at 5 p.m. and later headed to a bar. 

He testified he was offered a ride home from Philadelphia but opted to drive home, authorities said.

A blood draw performed two hours after the crash indicated Peters had a blood-alcohol concentration of at least .151 while driving, the DA's office said.

Peters also nearly collided with two other drivers while driving northbound near the Newtown-Yardley Exit, about 15 minutes before the crash, authorities said.

To date, a GoFundMe campaign in Tavarez-Santelises' name had raised $20,000. 

Nearly $12,000 had been raised on a GoFundMe campaign in Dominguez's name as of Oct. 18.

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