Man pleads guilty to DUI homicide

By Randy Bartley

Staff Writer


A 23-year-old Clarion man last week pleaded guilty to a charge of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and two other charges.

The charges against Mitchel Allen Davenport stem from May 4 crash that killed a Turkey City man who was inside an animal pen.

The crash occurred at the intersection of State Route 338 and Ritts Farm Road on a sharp turn in Turkey City in Richland Township.

Clarion-based state police said they observed a maroon Chevrolet Silverado truck stuck in mud in the lower portion of the yard located at 1304 State Route 338.

Tire marks in the grass went from State Route 338 and traveled into a yard through an animal pen and into the yard, police said.

Police saw a man in the back of an ambulance departing for Clarion Hospital, and an EMT assessing the man told police he was found inside the debris of the animal pen upon their arrival.

The man, identified as Jerold E. Dehart, of Turkey City, was pronounced dead on arrival at Clarion Hospital. Dehart, 39, suffered trauma to the head, neck and torso as a result of the crash.

Davenport told troopers he was the operator of the Silverado, police said. Davenport said he was traveling from a bar in Knox where he had consumed beer and several shots of liquor before leaving, according to police.

A woman who was inside the animal pen with Dehart was also struck by the vehicle and suffered serious injuries to her leg and head, police said.

Davenport also pleaded guilty to a felony charge of aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI and a misdemeanor charge of DUI.

Davenport was also originally charged with misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, involuntary manslaughter, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person; and summary offenses of driving outside the lane of traffic, driving at unsafe speeds, careless driving, reckless driving, driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked and violations concerning licenses charges were also filed.

Those charges were withdrawn in exchange for Davenport's plea.

Sentencing for Davenport is scheduled forĀ 9 a.m. Nov. 20.

On the homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence charge, Davenport could face a sentence of three to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.