A DUI driver was convicted Friday for his role in a crash that killed two people and seriously injured two others on I-95 nearly two years ago, authorities said.
A jury found 38-year-old Kevin R. Peters guilty of two counts of third-degree murder, two counts each of involuntary manslaughter, homicide by vehicle while DUI, two counts of driving under the influence, and related charges, according to the Bucks County District Attorney's Office.
Peters, of Bristol Township, 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, authorities said.
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.
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.
The investigation found that Peters had been drinking at a work function in Philadelphia that began at 5 p.m. and later headed to a bar, the DA's office said.
He testified he was offered a ride home from Philadelphia.
Video surveillance played at trial showed Peters in different Philadelphia establishments and also captured him struggling to exit a parking garage, authorities said. He eventually broke a security gate to leave, the video showed.
Video also showed Peters driving with his taillights off and running a stop sign at North 18th and Cherry Streets in Philadelphia.
Investigators later learned that Peters left Center City approximately one hour before the crash, authorities said. His erratic driving prompted two 911 calls within three seconds of each other.
He testified that while he was driving, he reached down to the passenger floor to get his phone out of a bag, authorities said. When he looked up, he crashed into the minivan.
A blood draw performed two hours after the crash indicated Peters had a blood-alcohol concentration of at least .151 while driving.
Common Pleas Judge Diane E. Gibbons revoked bail and Peters was taken into custody as he awaits sentencing, which was deferred to a later date.
The case was investigated by Pennsylvania State Police and was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney David A. Keightly Jr.
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