A Cumberland County man pleaded guilty this morning to vehicular homicide in a July 3, 2011 crash along Interstate 81 that killed Kayla Bahrey, 18, of McAdoo.
Onix Gorbea-Lespier, 52, was in court for a pretrial hearing when the guilty plea was offered. A trial had been on hold pending a battle over whether a second blood-alcohol test performed on Gorbea-Lespier could be admitted as evidence.
During Friday’s hearing before Luzerne County Court Judge Lesa S. Gelb, Gorbea-Lespier pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle, two counts of driving under the influence, and a single county of careless driving.
The negotiated plea agreement calls for Gorbea-Lespier to serve 18 months to three years in jail. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on June 23.
Gelb in 2012 ruled that the second test could not be admitted because state troopers did not provide Gorbea-Lespier a second warning that he faced license suspension for refusing the test.
Prosecutors appealed the ruling, with Assistant District Attorney James McMonagle saying it “terminates or substantially handicaps” the case’s prosecution.
State Superior Court in April issued an opinion reinstating the results, stating that a second warning was not required. State Supreme Court in November denied an appeal of that Superior Court order.
State police allege Gorbea-Lespier had a blood alcohol level of 0.084 percent after he struck Bahrey along the shoulder near Exit 141, the Hazleton South Beltway, where she had been helping push a disabled vehicle. The state’s DUI threshold is 0.08 percent.
Gorbea-Lespier told police he was returning home after attending a picnic in Albrightsville and admitted to drinking at the picnic, according to court papers.