Court Records: Driver Had Been Drinking Before Deadly Crash

There is new information about a deadly crash in Susquehanna County early Saturday.

The man accused of hitting and killing two pedestrians was in court Monday morning.

Brett Bennett of Kingsley was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing near New Milford on charges of homicide by vehicle and more. He did show up but that hearing was postponed.

Newswatch 16 learned investigators believe Bennett was not only speeding, but also under the influence, when he hit the two men.

Bennett is charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI and more after a deadly crash along Route 11 in New Milford.

State police were back on the scene Monday reconstructing Saturday’s crash that killed two pedestrians Edward Turner III, 45, and Brian Thomas, 42, both of New Milford.

“I don’t know that much about why they were there or what they were doing aside from the fact that they were apparently crossing the road to get to the motel where they were staying,” said District Attorney Jason Legg.

According to court paperwork, Bennett told investigators after having a few drinks at a bar he was driving south on Route 11, going faster than the 35 mile per hour speed limit, when he saw someone in the road, tried to swerve but struck the two men.

The crash happened just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Witnesses who stopped to help said Bennett told them he couldn’t stop quickly enough and that his life was over.

Bennett was arrested at the scene. Troopers said he had glassy eyes and slurred speech.

Bennett’s defense attorney did not want to comment other than to say Bennett is distraught.

This was the second tragedy to hit the New Milford area in two weeks.

On February 11 state police said Lloyd Thomas shot and killed two men outside a home near Hallstead.

He is facing criminal homicide charges in the deaths of Gilberto Alvarez and Joshua Rogers of New Milford.

Two serious crimes in a short period have kept District Attorney Legg busy. He has only one part-time assistant to help with the cases.

“These are obviously the types of crimes that require a lot more attention and a lot more detail in what you’re doing, and they’re harder to resolve a lot of times. So it’s going to take a lot more work, but we’ll get it done. We’ll fight the good fight,” Legg added.

Autopsies Monday afternoon showed Turner and Thomas were hit from behind. The coroner said the two died of multiple traumatic injuries after the crash.

A magistrate set bail for Bennett at $100,000 which he has not posted. He remains locked up and is scheduled to be back in court March 19.

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