D.A.: 'Intoxicated' driver caused wreck that killed Delco teen

Posted: February 26, 2014

A Lansdowne man blamed for a two-vehicle accident that killed an 18-year-old and seriously injured another teenager outside a fast-food restaurant in Clifton Heights was charged Monday with homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence.

Jonathan Vanderhorst, 45, was high on marijuana, clonazepam, and other drugs when he was involved in the Jan. 19 collision that killed Dante DeSimone, a freshman at Neumann University, and injured Timothy Robison, an Upper Darby High School student, according to the Delaware County District Attorney's Office.

It said Vanderhorst was so "intoxicated" on Jan. 19 that he didn't see the pickup truck that was traveling in the opposite direction as he turned into a McDonald's parking lot on West Baltimore Pike.

The impact of the collision forced the truck onto the sidewalk, where it struck DeSimone and Robison, who suffered severe injuries.

Vanderhorst agreed to a blood analysis at the scene. He was arrested Monday after the complete toxicology report became available, the District Attorney's Office said.

"This is an example of how marijuana is a dangerous drug with devastating impacts to the families of those victims," District Attorney Jack Whelan said in a statement.

In addition to the homicide and DUI counts, Vanderhorst was charged with aggravated assault by vehicle, recklessly endangering another person, and driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

He was arraigned in Delaware County Court, where a judge ordered him held without bail.

DeSimone was a popular athlete at Upper Darby High School, where he played ice hockey and lacrosse, overcoming a medical condition that at one point had left him confined to a body cast.

He had hoped to continue his athletic career at Neumman.




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