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Drunk Driver Who Killed Man Standing in Richland Township Yard Sentenced Up to Fifteen Years in Prison

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 @ 12:02 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

Mitchel Allen DavenportCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A drunk driver who struck and killed a Clarion County man in May was recently sentenced up to fifteen years in state prison.

(Photo by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)

Court documents indicate that on Friday, February 14, President Judge Sara J. Seidle-Patton sentenced 24-year-old Mitchel Allen Davenport, of Clarion, to a total of seven and a half to fifteen years in state prison.

Davenport was ordered to a minimum of five years to a maximum of ten years confinement on a first-degree felony count of Homicide by Vehicle While DUI and a minimum of two and a half years to a maximum of five years confinement on a second-degree felony count of Aggravated Assault By Vehicle While DUI.

The sentences will run consecutively.

Davenport was given credit for 218 days of time served.

According to court documents, on February 14, just prior to sentencing, Davenport pleaded guilty to the above-listed charges, plus one first-degree misdemeanor count of DUI: Highest Rate of Alcohol (BAC .16+) 2nd Offense, which was merged with the other charges for sentencing purposes.

As a result of the plea agreement, the following charges were dismissed:

– Aggravated Assault, Felony 1
– Homicide By Vehicle, Felony 3
– DUI: General Impairment/Incompetent of Driving Safely – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor
– DUI: Highest Rte of Alc (BAC .16+) 1st Offense, Misdemeanor
– Involuntary Manslaughter, Misdemeanor 1
– Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 2
– Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
– Disregard Traffic Lane (Single), Summary
– Driving at Safe Speed, Summary
– Careless Driving, Summary
– Reckless Driving, Summary
– Driving While Operator Privilege Suspended Or Revoked, Summary
– Rec’d Sus’d Fict Alt’d Etc Drivers License, Summary

He is currently lodged in the Clarion County Jail, awaiting transfer to a state correctional facility.

Prior to Plea Agreement, Trial Set for February 24

Davenport was previously scheduled to go to trial on Monday, February 24.

Jury selection for his case was scheduled after a movement for a continuance in the plea hearing was denied. During a previous hearing, President Judge James G. Arner noted the district attorney and Davenport’s defense attorney, Erich Spessard, had failed to reach a plea agreement and would have one last opportunity at a pre-trial conference scheduled for January 3.

Davenport Enters into Plea Agreement on October 9, But Withdraws Plea on November 29

Prior to that, on Wednesday, October 9, Davenport pleaded guilty to the following charges:

– Homicide by Vehicle While DUI, Felony 1
– Aggravated Assault By Vehicle While DUI, Felony 2
– DUI: Highest Rate of Alcohol (BAC .16+) 1st Offense, Misdemeanor 1

As a result of the plea agreement, the following charges were dismissed:

– Aggravated Assault, Felony 1
– Homicide By Vehicle, Felony 3
– DUI: General Impairment/Incompetent of Driving Safely – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor
– Involuntary Manslaughter, Misdemeanor 1
– Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 2
– Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
– Disregard Traffic Lane (Single), Summary
– Driving at Safe Speed, Summary
– Careless Driving, Summary
– Reckless Driving, Summary
– Driving While Operator Privilege Suspended Or Revoked, Summary
– Rec’d Sus’d Fict Alt’d Etc Drivers License, Summary

Davenport then withdrew his plea in court on November 20.

It was noted during the November 20 hearing that Davenport initially entered his plea contingent on an understanding of a mandatory minimum sentence on the first-degree felony homicide by vehicle while DUI charge of three years confinement. However, the mandatory minimum was increased to five years in 2018.

Details of the case:

The charges stem from a crash that occurred on May 4 at the intersection of Route 338 and Ritts Farm Road, in Richland Township, Clarion County.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Trooper Dubovi, of Clarion-based State Police, he was dispatched around 11:24 p.m. on May 4 to a one-vehicle collision that occurred at the above-described location. When he arrived on the scene, he observed a maroon Chevrolet Silverado stuck in mud in the lower portion of the yard located at 1304 Route 338, Emlenton, Pa. He observed tire marks in the grass exiting Route 338 and traveling into a yard through an animal pen and to its point of final rest.

The complaint states that Trooper Dubovi observed a male in the back of an ambulance departing for Clarion Hospital. An EMT assessing the male advised Trooper Dubovi that the man was found inside the debris of the animal pen upon their arrival. The man identified as Jerrold E. Dehart was pronounced dead upon his arrival to the Clarion Hospital due to trauma to the head, neck, and torso as a result of the collision.

According to the complaint, the operator of the Silverado approached Trooper Dubovi upon his arrival and stated that he was driving the truck. He was identified as Mitchel A. Davenport via a suspended Pennsylvania driver’s license. Davenport stated that he was traveling from a known bar in Knox where he had consumed beer and several shots of liquor before leaving. A known female passenger of the Silverado was also on the scene. She stated that he was driving her home from the known bar “because he was the more sober of the two.” She also related that she was the owner of the vehicle. She indicated that she was in the front passenger seat at the time of the collision.

While on the scene, Trooper Ryan Drayer advised Trooper Dubovi that there was another pedestrian who was struck by the Silverado. The second pedestrian stated that she and Dehart were inside the animal pen when they were struck by a vehicle. She suffered serious injuries to her leg and head from the collision with the Silverado.

Standardized field sobriety tests were conducted on Davenport.

A strong odor of alcohol emanated from his person and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot. He did not perform the tests as instructed and demonstrated signs of impairment consistent with being under the influence of alcohol. He was asked to submit to a preliminary test of blood at the Clarion Emergency Room to help determine his level of intoxication, and the results indicated a 0.176% BAC (Blood Alcohol Content), according to the complaint.


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