WILKES-BARRE — A Kingston man accused of losing control of a concrete mixer that crashed into another vehicle, killing the driver, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in Luzerne District Court on Monday.
Howard Halter Briggs, 41, of Rutter Avenue, was driving a concrete mixer down East Northampton Street, known as Giants Despair, when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a Toyota Tacoma driven by Louis Robert, 62, on January 11, 2021. Valkoviak. , according to state police in Wilkes-Barre.
Walkowiak, of Laurel Run, died of multiple traumatic injuries.
State police court records say Briggs was illegally driving on a roadway prohibited for heavy commercial vehicles at the time of the crash.
Court records say Briggs told state police he left a work site in Bear Creek Township, followed his GPS in the truck and didn’t see traffic signs prohibiting commercial vehicles weighing more than 10 tons on East Northampton Street.
State police say Briggs began a steep descent when the transmission failed and then the brakes failed completely. The cement mixer’s spring-loaded emergency brakes failed, court records state.
Briggs claimed he never saw the Toyota.
A crash reconstructionist says Briggs was traveling about 47 miles per hour before overturning the cement mixer and hitting Walkowiak’s vehicle.
Prosecutors previously withdrew several traffic and vehicle charges against Briggs.
Briggs pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide before Judge David W. Lupas.
Briggs is scheduled to be sentenced on November 29.