The officer was Brian Lorenzo, 48, a motorcycle drill team training instructor with 23 years experience in law enforcement, a wife, three children, and a brother in Philadelphia's 25th Police District. The driver, John Leck Jr., had allegedly been drinking before he steered his Audi A6 onto the Cottman Avenue offramp and fatally struck Lorenzo, according to a lawsuit filed by the officer's wife.
Leck, 48 of Levittown, is charged with third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence, aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter. His eyes drooped throughout the two-hour preliminary hearing, the result of heavy medication and lingering injuries from the crash, said his attorney, Michael Parlow.
The defense is not disputing what happened that night, but Parlow said they will fight the third-degree murder and aggravated assault charges. He said Leck "feels terrible" about what happened and was not maliciously intending to kill anyone.
Leck's blood-alcohol level tested at 0.218 percent - less than an hour after the 3:15 a.m. July 8 crash - nearly three times the legal driving limit. Leck's car and Lorenzo's motorcycle collided head-on when Leck drove his car the wrong way on the highway.
"There was no malice in his heart or in his head," Parlow said. "If you're that intoxicated, you're not going to notice that words are backward on the street."
Kuttler, who has since married and changed her name to Bullock, was the first witness in a hearing to decide whether Leck should stand trial. She was followed by two law enforcement officers who were on the scene minutes after the crash.
State Trooper Charles Burckhardt showed photographs, videos and diagrams reconstructing every detail of the crash. A few minutes into his presentation, Lorenzo's wife left the courtroom in tears.
Burckhardt said Leck drove a mile and a half the wrong way, past 52 backward signs and nine "traffic control devices," such as arrows on the street. He merged onto the highway, crossed into the third lane and accelerated to at least 62 mph when the crash occurred, the trooper said.
There was no evidence that Leck braked, swerved or tried to stop, Burckhardt said. "He just drove through the crash," he said.
Lorenzo was thrown over the car, his right leg severed and his abdomen torn when he landed more than 20 feet away, Burckhardt said. His baton was torn from his belt and thrown 120 feet onto the other side of the highway; the soles of his boots ripped off.
Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Juliano Coelho said the evidence shows "sustained recklessness" justifying third-degree murder, which carries a 20- to 40-year sentence.
Judge Teresa Carr Deni scheduled an arraignment for Oct. 17 at 11 a.m.
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