NORRISTOWN — A Bucks County man was sent to prison after he admitted he was driving under the influence of drugs at the time he caused a two-vehicle crash in Hatfield Township that seriously injured occupants of the second vehicle.
Joseph James Morgan, 25, of the 400 block of Summit Avenue, Perkasie, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to one to five years in a state correctional facility after he pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault by a vehicle while driving under the influence of controlled substances, DUI and possession of a controlled substance in connection with a Feb. 9, 2019, crash near Trewigtown and County Line roads in Hatfield.
Judge William R. Carpenter, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, said Morgan must pay $535.17 in restitution to a Souderton woman who was injured during the crash.
An investigation began about 12:15 p.m. when Hatfield Township police responded to the intersection for a report of a two-vehicle, head-on crash. Arriving officers found two vehicles with heavy front end damage in the southbound lane of County Line Road, one facing northbound and another facing southbound, according to court papers.
A #Bucks County man was sent to prison after he admitted he was driving under the influence of drugs at the time he caused a two-vehicle crash in #Hatfield Township that seriously injured occupants of the 2nd vehicle.I'll have that story shortly from #MontcoPa #Court— Carl Hessler Jr. (@MontcoCourtNews) February 18, 2020
The investigation determined that a Subaru Crosstek operated northbound on County Line Road by Morgan crossed over the double yellow line and struck a Subaru Forester operated southbound by a woman whose passengers included her daughter and granddaughter, according to court papers.
“A witness…indicated the vehicle Mr. Morgan was driving drifted into the oncoming lane of travel at full speed and did not appear to brake at all,” Hatfield Police Officer Eric Geiger wrote in the arrest affidavit.
The three females in the second vehicle complained of pain in multiple areas of their bodies, police said. Court documents indicate one victim suffered a fractured clavicle and the child victim suffered an internal brain hemorrhage.
Police said Morgan complained of hip and chest pain and was treated at a local hospital after the crash. During the investigation, officers noted Morgan had “droopy eyelids and very obvious puncture marks on the inside of his right elbow,” conditions consistent with narcotic usage, according to the criminal complaint.
Joseph James Morgan, 25 of #Perkasie, #BucksCounty was sentenced in #MontcoPa #Court to 1 to 5 yrs in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence of controlled substances in connection with Feb. 2019 #Hatfield crash— Carl Hessler Jr. (@MontcoCourtNews) February 18, 2020
Morgan subsequently told investigators he had a “drug problem” and that he last used heroin several hours before the crash, according to the arrest affidavit. Morgan also directed investigators to his wallet where police found seven small wax paper bags containing suspected heroin, according to court documents.
Morgan agreed to submit to a blood test, telling investigators, “I just wanna (sic) do what is right,” according to the arrest affidavit. Test results found active ingredients and metabolites of marijuana and metabolites of the narcotic fentanyl in Morgan’s bloodstream, according to the arrest affidavit.
“Based on the displayed driving by Mr. Morgan, his physical condition and the results of the blood test, it is my opinion that Mr. Morgan was under the influence of a controlled substance to a degree which rendered him unfit for safe driving, which was the direct cause of the crash and subsequent injuries sustained by the occupants of the other vehicle,” Geiger alleged in the arrest affidavit.