CLEARFIELD – Gregory A. Millinder Jr., 32, of Madera will stand trial on homicide by vehicle charges for striking a car, which killed a woman passenger, while allegedly under the influence of several drugs in early July of last year.
Millinder is charged by Trooper Dennis Peters of the Clearfield-based state police with homicide by vehicle while DUI, F2; aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, F2; homicide by vehicle, F3; DUI/controlled substance, three counts, M; involuntary manslaughter, M1; endangering the welfare of children, M1; recklessly endangering another person, M2; and four summaries.
All charges were held to the Court of Common Pleas for further disposition following a preliminary hearing Wednesday before Magisterial District Judge Jerome Nevling at the Clearfield County Jail. Bail is set at $100,000 monetary, which Millinder posted in November.
A Houtzdale man who witnessed the three-vehicle crash July 2 testified first on behalf of the commonwealth. He was traveling from Osceola on state Route 53 into Houtzdale and observed a black Jeep Wrangler “swerving quite a bit.”
He said the Jeep’s driver crossed the double-line at least three or four times and completely entered the oncoming lane at least twice. He suspected something was wrong and attempted to catch up to get the vehicle’s plate information.
However, the witness said before he could obtain the information and call 911, the Jeep crossed over the double-line, sideswiped the Chevrolet Corvette and continued south in the northbound lane until its head-on collision with the Chevrolet Bel-Air.
He immediately pulled over and called 911. When he exited his vehicle, he approached the driver of the Bel-Air. He said the gentleman was able to get out but was bleeding from his head and chest areas.
He said his woman passenger was face down on the floor and almost under the seat. She wasn’t moving, and he said they did what they could to console the gentleman at the scene.
The witness testified that the Jeep’s driver, identified as Millinder, was able to get out. He also got his daughter out, and they went up an embankment away from the scene. The witness said he didn’t have any contact with Millinder or the Corvette’s occupants at the scene.
Peters said he was dispatched to a three-vehicle crash at 6:13 p.m. July 2. Upon arrival, he observed the Jeep and the Bel-Air and numerous fire and emergency personnel. He was directed by a firefighter to the witness of the crash.
Peters spoke with the witness who pointed out Millinder as the Jeep’s driver. During an interview, Millinder told him he was traveling south from Philipsburg towards Houtzdale and his daughter was with him.
Millinder said he was going about 55 miles per hour and he felt confident that he was in his lane of travel. He said the Corvette came into his lane and hit his vehicle.
“And, that’s all he could recall,” Peters testified. At the scene, he observed Millinder drinking several bottles of water. He said Millinder also had a dry mouth, bloodshot eyes and droopy eyelids.
According to Peters, Millinder was making repeated statements. When asked for identification, he said Millinder looked several times in the same pocket, and his hands were shaking when he handed it over.
“Combined with what the witness said, I was confident he was under the influence,” Peters said. He called his supervisor and requested that a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) be made available.
Neither Millinder nor his daughter was injured, and Peters proceeded to conduct his crash investigation. He determined the Corvette and Bel-Air were traveling north when the Jeep crossed into their lane.
He said the Corvette’s driver got as far as possible off the roadway. However, Millinder’s Jeep still impacted the vehicle’s rear quarter-panel. Then, the Jeep continued traveling and collided head-on with the Bel-Air.
Peters was notified by an on-scene paramedic at 6:48 p.m. that Mary T. Caprio, 70, of Lock Haven had been pronounced dead. Caprio was a passenger in the Bel Air. Gary K. Stover, 71, of Loganton was the driver, and he was flown from the scene in critical condition.
Peters said the paramedic advised Stover was bleeding from his mouth and blood was also seeping through his shirt. She lifted his shirt and discovered severe trauma to his chest.
Peters was presented with a letter written by a trauma room assistant who had treated Stover. The letter stated that Stover suffered “life-threatening” injuries as a result of the crash.
Peters said a crash reconstruction unit responded to the scene, and he transported Millinder to the Woodland barracks to be evaluated by the DRE. He said the DRE determined Millinder was under the influence of drug(s) and unable to safely drive a vehicle.
As a result, Peters took Millinder to Penn Highlands Clearfield Hospital for a legal blood draw. He said Millinder agreed to the test and claimed he had taken two Klonopin pills two days prior but denied he had taken anything earlier that day.
He said the blood sample was submitted for laboratory analysis, which showed Millinder’s blood contained amphetamine, methamphetamine, clonazepam and 7-amino clonazepam.
Coroner Kim Shaffer-Snyder testified last. She said after an autopsy, it was determined Caprio died from blunt force trauma to the chest due to a motor vehicle crash.