CLEARFIELD – A Grampian man who signed a plea agreement in a homicide by vehicle case tried to withdraw his plea during sentencing court Tuesday.
The trial for Eric Lynn McCall, 48, scheduled in April, was cancelled when he decided to sign the agreement and the plea was put on the record at that time.
On Tuesday, defense attorney Jendi Schwab stated that McCall says he is innocent of the most serious offense in his case and has lingering questions about what caused the accident. She made a verbal motion to withdraw his plea and take the case to trial.
District Attorney Ryan Sayers reminded the judge that when McCall was colloquied, he was told he would not be permitted to withdraw his plea after that point.
Judge Paul Cherry denied Schwab’s motion to withdraw the plea.
Schwab then argued for a lower maximum sentence than the 13-year period recommended by the probation office.
She explained that the victim “was in a state of mental distress” as the two left a bar and were driving on state Route 879 in Pike Township in April of 2019.
McCall was trying to get her to Penn Highlands Clearfield to save her life.
“This was not just two people leaving a bar drunk and getting into an accident.”
The victim was so distressed, she drove the car off the road and then McCall decided to drive the rest of the way, she said.
Sayers responded simply that McCall was intoxicated, got behind the wheel and got into an accident that killed the victim. He agreed McCall should get a sentence of three-and-a-half to 13 years in state prison.
McCall himself stated that he “did not cause that wreck or cause her to die.”
Cherry then sentenced him for homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, accidents involving death while not licensed and a summary offense of driving under suspension-DUI related, to three-and-a-half to 13 years in state prison, as recommended.
According to the affidavit, while en route, police were advised one of the people in the vehicle was deceased and the other, a man who had been injured, fled the scene on foot.
The vehicle, a 2014 Hyundai Veloster, had impacted multiple trees and overturned onto its passenger side.
Fire department personnel said the driver was bleeding when he left the scene.
A passenger in the vehicle, Christina Metzker, 41, of Clearfield, was partially ejected from the car and was deceased.
Police were able to track the driver, later identified as McCall, by following his blood trail. He was found about one mile west of the crash scene.
Officers noticed that McCall showed signs of being intoxicated, such as slurred speech, bloodshot glassy eyes and the smell of alcohol. He failed a breath test before he was flown by helicopter to UPMC Altoona for treatment, according to the complaint.
A record check on McCall showed that his license was suspended for a previous DUI case.
After McCall refused to submit to an alcohol blood test at the hospital, a search warrant was issued to the hospital for his records, which showed his blood alcohol content was 0.185 percent.