A man from Pottstown was sent to prison for a drug accident that killed a woman from Lower Pottsgrove

NARYSTOWN – A man from Pottstown is going to jail after he confessed to driving under the influence of alcohol and traces of marijuana and without real rights, when in August 2021 he had an accident in the area, which killed 35 people . a summer woman from Lower Pottsgrove.

31-year-old Simmer Keith Butler of 600 on Street Street was sentenced Wednesday in a Montgomery County court to 7-14 years in prison at a state penitentiary after he pleaded guilty to car murder and fatal accidents without proper license. , driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a license and reckless driving in connection with an accident on August 3 at 22:15, which killed Nicole “Nicky” Alice Benzenhafer.

The verdict was handed down by Judge Wendy Demchyk-Aloy under a plea agreement.

The sentence was the highest possible sentence allowed by state law and sought by prosecutors on charges of murder in a car and accidents with death without proper license.

“Nicole will never be able to see her sisters or her 11-year-old son, and they will live with it every day of their lives because of the outrageous nature of his (Butler’s) actions,” said Lisa’s assistant district attorney. Caulfield.

A significant maximum sentence, Caulfield said, should inform others in society about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“The message is that you really need to think before you make the choice to get behind the wheel of a car and drive with an injury that will lead to a horrific tragedy such as the death of this mother, sister and friend,” Caulfield said.

“Do better. You need to do better, ”Caulfield added, quoting a friend of the victim who spoke during an emotional hearing of the verdict. “Everyone who’s going to make that decision just needs to improve themselves and not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

Butler, represented by Wang Saadzoi’s lawyer, expressed remorse for his behavior during the hearing and apologized to the relatives of the victim.

Several grieving relatives and friends of Benzenhafer testified to their loss. Demchyk-Aloy called the testimony of Benzenhafer’s relatives and friends “influential”.

“It really tore my heart out. For the most part, most of them focused on having a little boy who would never see his mother again, ”Caulfield said.

Flowers and balloons adorn a pillar on Queen Street, near the spot where Nicole Benzenhafer died in a fatal crash on August 3, 2021.

With the charges, detectives allege that Butler was driving his car “with extreme carelessness and carelessness at speeds far exceeding the speed limit, and while controlled substances.”

The investigation began around 10:16 p.m. on Aug. 3, when a district police officer during a routine patrol east in the 900th High Street quarter noticed a Chevrolet Impala moving east at high speed passing an officer’s car in a no-go area. , according to a criminal complaint filed by Potstown detective Adrian Stead.

According to court documents, the officer turned on the emergency lights at the top, trying to stop the Impala, which forced his right hand to turn into the parking lot of Irish pub Jack Cassidy. Entering the parking lot, the officer noticed that the Impala exit was leaving behind the parking lot and moving south along Keim Street.

Court documents show that the officer turned off the emergency light and also headed south on Keim Street.

Shortly afterwards, at 10:18 p.m., a pedestrian identified an officer on Queen Street and reported that the accident had occurred several blocks west of their location.

The officer later faced an accident on Queen and Madison streets involving an Impala driven by Butler, a Chevrolet Equinox driven by Benzenhafer, and a parked Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. The officer recognized the Impala as the same car that had driven past a police car on High Street minutes earlier.

Benzenhafer had to be retrieved from Equinox and taken to Reading Hospital, where at 11:34 p.m. she was pronounced dead.

Butler crawled out of his car through the passenger’s door and “got into a fight with the ambulance operators, pulling one of the female medics by the hair,” Stead said. Butler was taken to Reading Hospital, where he was treated and later released.

At the time of the accident, the Tacoma was legally parked and unoccupied.

The investigation and reconstruction of the accident by Potstown police and county detectives determined that the Butpala-driven Impala was heading west on Queen Street, approaching the intersection with Madison Street, moving 71 to 73 miles per hour in the 25 mph zone when due to excessive speed, the Impala came out into the air at an intersection.

“When Butler’s car drove into the intersection due to high speed, the car took to the air and landed on the opposite side of the intersection. Butler’s car was moving west on the eastern lane in the 700 Queen Street neighborhood, ”Stead said.

Butler’s car then crashed into an Equinox driven by Benzenhafer, which was moving east on the eastern lane of Queen Street.

“The front of the Butler vehicle collided badly with a Benzenhafer car,” Stead wrote in a criminal complaint.

The impact caused Equinox to pass 108 feet before stopping, turning east in West Lane, detectives said. Butler’s car then knocked down a parked Tacoma pickup truck before stopping.

Several witnesses later told police they watched Impala drive at high speed on Hai and Quinn streets and drive through stop signs shortly before the crash.

The investigation determined that Butler did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the accident, his driving license was allegedly suspended since April 2016.

Employees who responded to the scene, “showed the smell of marijuana coming away from the Butler’s car, as well as the butler,” the statement about the arrest said.

In an interview with detectives, Butler said that, according to court documents, he had difficulty sleeping “and he received some pills from a relative.” Butler allegedly told detectives he had taken the pill and remembered driving his car.

Toxicological tests revealed that Butler’s blood contained fentanyl and marijuana metabolites.

“Following the investigation of the accident, investigators determined that the cause of the accident was directly related to a combination of the level of damage to Saimer Keith Butler, as well as the speed and manner of operation in which Saimer Keith Butler drove his car. “- Stead wrote in a criminal complaint.

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