DAUPHIN COUNTY — A Mississippi truck driver accused of causing the accident that killed three people, including a 16-month-old girl, in a deadly crash on Interstate 83 North in Dauphin County last year has pleaded guilty in Dauphin County Court to three counts of homicide by vehicle, three counts of leaving the scene of a fatal crash, and related offenses, according to the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office.
Jack E. Satterfield III will be sentenced on August 6 in a hearing before Judge Deborah E. Curcillo, who accepted his guilty plea Tuesday. Satterfield remains in Dauphin County Prison, where he is being held without bail. Since there is no plea agreement, Curcillo will administer a sentence after a complete pre-sentence investigation has been completed, according to Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo.
Chardo said in a release announcing the plea that he he and the victims’ families intend to seek the maximum sentences based on the circumstances of the case.
Satterfield admitted that he was drinking various alcoholic beverages prior to the crash, including in the moments directly before the crash occurred on I-83 North at Mile Marker 47.
At about 8:30 p.m., Satterfield’s tractor trailer failed to stop as it approached a line of traffic, striking several cars without slowing down. One of the first vehicles struck was a 1996 Eagle Vision driven by Zachary Lybrand, 24, and his 16-month-old daughter, Elliana. The car was consumed by flames, and both occupants died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns, investigators determined.
Another car struck by Satterfield’s truck was a 2004 Pontiac Vibe, driven by Ethan Van Bochoven, 24, who died at the scene.
Several other vehicles were struck, and other occupants suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The tractor trailer pinned several other cars against the center median.
After the crash, Satterfield exited from the driver’s side window of his truck and left the highway, walking to the far side of a high fence separating the road from a nearby Best Western Hotel, located at 800 East Park Drive.
Lower Paxton Township Police found Satterfield standing among a crowd that had gathered outside the hotel, about 52 minutes after the crash.
Satterfield attempted to walk away when he saw a marked police cruiser arrive at the hotel. He was observed staggering or limping as he walked away, police say, but was quickly detained. Police observed the smell of alcohol on Satterfield and noted he was speaking with slurred speech.
A blood draw taken at 11:19 p.m. showed Satterfield’s BAC was at .152 percent.
Satterfield admitted that he had been drinking alcohol all day. At a restaurant in New Jersey, he said he had three large Margaritas and a beer, and referred to an empty six-pack of beer and Jagermeister that had been found in the cab of his truck. Video from the cab of the truck showed Satterfield had been drinking as he drove the rig from New Jersey.
Dash cam video from the truck was entered as part of the plea agreement. The video, which includes the moment of impact in the crash, appears below.
WARNING: THE VIDEO CONTAINS DISTURBING CONTENT. Viewer discretion is advised.