DUI suspect charged in fatal Dekalb Pike crash

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA – Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Lower Gwynedd Township Police Chief Paul Kenny announce the arrest of Gabino Lucas Lagunes, 30, of Norristown, on charges of Homicide by Vehicle DUI, DUI, Driving Without a License, Reckless Driving and other charges related to a May 6, 2021, crash on Dekalb Pike in Lower Gwynedd that killed 37-year-old Jose Martinez-Diaz of Philadelphia, who was a passenger in his vehicle.

At 3:28 a.m., Thursday, May 6, Lower Gwynedd Township Police responded to the 500 block of Route 202 (Dekalb Pike) for a vehicle-fuel truck crash. Police and emergency medical personnel arrived to find a Subaru Legacy underneath a Mack fuel truck, which was stopped at the time of the crash. The driver and two passengers were trapped in the Subaru and had to be extracted. The defendant was flown to Temple University Hospital for treatment, and a backseat passenger was transported to Abington Hospital for treatment. The front seat passenger, Jose Martinez-Diaz, was found with no signs of life and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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A joint crash investigation by Lower Gwynedd Township Police and the Montgomery County Detective Bureau determined that the fuel truck was stopped and parked in the southbound lane of Route 202 with its four-way flashers and the truck’s revolving yellow warning light engaged. The Subaru driven by Lucas Lagunes was proceeding south in the southbound lane.

Just prior to impact, the defendant attempted to steer to the left to avoid impact, but the vehicle hit the truck with the passenger’s front and side of the vehicle. The Subaru then rode under the truck and struck the truck’s rear axle/tire area, causing the car to rotate to face east across the northbound lanes of Route 202 where it stopped. The defendant’s car hit the truck with such impact that it broke the truck’s fan support bracket, located 32 feet in front of the impact point. Toxicology results on the defendant’s blood placed his BAC between .217 and .243 percent. Additionally, the investigation revealed that Lucas Lagunes did not apply his brakes prior to the crash.

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Crash investigators determined that the cause of the crash was directly related to the combination of Lucas Lagunes’ level of impairment as well as the speed and manner of operation of the vehicle. Lucas Lagunes was arraigned today before Magisterial District Judge Susan Leonard, who set bail at $75,000 cash. The defendant failed to make bail and was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m., May 27, 2021 before Judge Leonard.