Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Police: Pants-less drunken driver struck superstar’s truck

W-B Twp. incident involving big rig promoting Katy Perry album makes international headlines

August 13. 2013 11:32PM

By - rdupuis@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6113

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Call it the case of the pants-less, allegedly drunken truck driver who made international headlines after he ran into superstar singer Katy Perry’s tractor-trailer last week in Wilkes-Barre Township.

Donald Charles Voight, 56, of Springfield, Va., faces charges of driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and failing to stop and provide his information.

No injuries were reported as a result of the Friday afternoon incident, in which Voight allegedly crashed into a shiny, gold-colored big rig promoting Perry’s next album, “Prism,” which is scheduled to be released in October.

“I’m really bad. I’ve been drinking,” the stumbling, half-clothed Voight said when approached by officers, according to an affidavit filed by township police.

Officers were dispatched to the Walmart parking lot at about 5:30 p.m. for a report of a hit-and-run involving two tractor-trailers, according to the affidavit.

Mark Alan Sager, who was driving the Prism truck, said he was sitting inside the cab when its front end was struck by a black truck with a Virginia license plate. Sager said he repeatedly honked his horn and tried to run after the fleeing black truck to no avail.

While police were taking Sager’s report, Voight’s truck returned, according to the affidavit.

As police tried to get Voight to stop, he allegedly began backing the truck up, nearly backing into a police car.

“(Police) asked the defendant to step out of the vehicle, and he stated he could not because he was not wearing any pants,” police wrote.

Voight admitted to striking the other truck, police said, and that he had consumed a half a bottle of vodka.

Barely 20 minutes later, celebrity news website TMZ posted about the accident, noting that Perry was not in the truck. The news quickly rippled among Perry’s devoted fans, thanks to the TMZ report as well as tweets from Perry’s official Twitter account. It later was picked up by media outlets worldwide.

“The #prism semi is bumped & bruised but she is a champion! She will return,” Perry wrote.

That didn’t stop dedicated fans from having some anxious moments after learning about the collision. A post from one of those fans even caught Perry’s attention.

“Well when I heard about the crash I assumed that it was more serious than it turned out it actually was so I kind of freaked out,” said Carly Johnson, a Los Angeles resident who posted a photo of the truck with a burning candle on either side, with the hashtag “#PrayForPrismTruck.”

Perry shared the photo with her followers, with the message “Thank you sweetie.” The truck earlier had stopped in Niagara Falls, N.Y., according to a tweet by Perry.

“I knew Katy wasn’t inside the truck so I wasn’t worried for that reason, but drunk driving accidents are horrible no matter what,” Johnson wrote in an email to The Times Leader.

After learning all the details, Johnson, who first saw the story on TMZ, said she and fans “kind of took a moment to laugh at the oddness and rarity of the situation.”

Voight was arraigned later Friday before District Judge Michael Dotzel in Wilkes-Barre Township and released on $10,000 unsecured bail pending an Aug. 21 preliminary hearing.

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