New Jersey Man Charged with DWI Traffic Death of Stepdaughter

A New Jersey man accused of driving while intoxicated and causing a fatality in the process has recently been arraigned in district court on charges of DWI and vehicular manslaughter, just weeks after the accident that killed his former stepdaughter. The tragic drunk driving accident happened on April 23 in Bethlehem Township, PA, when Thomas A. Parsons drove his car into a tree, killing his 28-year-old passenger, Kelly Rice.

Parsons was arraigned on that state’s charge of homicide by vehicle while DUI, in a Northampton County courtroom. Local prosecutor, John Morganelli, said he approved the charges against the 43-year-old from Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

According to reports, Rice was riding home with Parsons from a Static-X concert at Crocodile Rock in Allentown when the crash occurred. They were driving on Johnston Drive in Bethlehem Township when the car smashed into a tree, killing the 28-year-old Rice. Morganelli said Parsons’ blood-alcohol content was 0.18, more than double the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

According to new reports, Rice had been born with a neurological condition, which doctors said would never allow her to walk or lead a productive life. Remarkably, Rice graduated from Phillipsburg High School in 2000 and earned a two-year degree from Warren County Community College. Rice and her mother worked as a substitute aides in the Phillipsburg School District.

Police are unsure why Parsons was driving on Johnston Drive on the way home from Allentown to Phillipsburg. What they do know is that Parsons was driving eastbound when his 1994 Saturn veered into a tree near the entrance to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church. Family members said Rice had begged Parsons to take her to the heavy-metal concert.

After reviewing the complete investigation, the prosecutor approved the two felony counts, four misdemeanors and a pair of summary offenses, saying that he felt the charges were appropriate.

There is no doubt that these are serious charges, and that the prosecution will be hard on the defendant due to the severity of the offense. As a New Jersey DWI Attorney, I can say that my firm has represented many clients in similar circumstances. The important thing to remember is that you need skill and knowledge on your side. The legal professionals at The Law Offices of John Marshall have years of DWI defense experience to help you on your day in court. If you or loved one needs legal help for a DWI, refusal or DUI-related offense, our lawyers are at your disposal 24/7.


Man to be arraigned today on homicide by vehicle while DUI charge weeks after wreck killed former stepdaughter,, May 4, 2009


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