Montco woman held in road death of teen

Posted: May 26, 2013

A Lansdale woman who allegedly was reading a text message while driving a car that struck two teenagers in Hatfield Township, killing one, has been charged with homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Bail was set Friday at $100,000 for Sarah Derstein, 31.

According to authorities, at 11:34 p.m. April 26, Dennis Kee, 15, of Hatfield, was walking with four friends along the shoulder of southbound Route 309 when he and a friend, also 15, were hit by Derstein's 2007 Toyota Corolla.

Kee was "catapulted over the guardrail" and fell about 10 feet from the road, officials said in a news release. The other victim suffered a broken elbow.

Derstein continued driving and returned to the accident scene about an hour later, where she told an officer directing traffic she had hit something. Police then found fresh damage to the front of her car. A laboratory test showed her blood-alcohol content at 0.167 - more than twice Pennsylvania's legal limit, police said.

According to a police affidavit, Derstein was carrying on a text-message conversation around the time of the accident. About 11:20, the affidavit says, Derstein received a text saying: "Did ur weed man come thru?" She wrote back: "On my way." Five minutes after the crash, the affidavit says, she replied to a follow-up message: "I'm not coming. I just got in an accident." - Carolyn Davis

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