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Driver was texting when he caused fatal crash in Strasburg

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STRASBURG TWP, Pa- A Lancaster driver is charged with causing a fatal crash last summer by text-messaging on a heavily-traveled road.

Phong Chadd Pham was arraigned Wednesday morning on counts of vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter, and related counts regarding the July 16, 2015, crash that killed 78-year-old Eva Kunkle.

Pham, 24, was driving on Beaver Valley Pike (Route 222) when he veered into opposing traffica bout 3:54 p.m.

Kunkle’s vehicle was struck head-on. She died at the scene.

On Wednesday afternoon, Pham was arraigned on the charges.  Bail at $50,000, which was posted by a bondsman.

Pham, while traveling south, failed to negotiate a turn in the road when his Acura sedan veered across the center line. Kunkle’s Mercury sedan was struck head-on.

Pham was seriously injured in the crash.

An examination of Pham’s phone showed text-messaging activity happened prior to the collision.

“It is reasonable to conclude that (Pham) … was distracted from driving by texting,” the Trooper reported.

The homicide by vehicle charge is a third-degree felony; the involuntary manslaughter charge is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Trooper Trunfio also filed summary counts of reckless driving, lane violation, and engaging in text-based communications while driving.

Pham is presumed innocent.

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