SUGARLOAF – Trying her best to hold back tears, Carla Kringer of McAdoo had a message for 24-year-old Kevin Prussock, who Butler Township police said was drunk when he crashed into another vehicle in which her father was killed.
“I wish he made a better choice,” Kringer said Thursday shortly after Prussock was charged with homicide by vehicle and related offenses. “My dad would be here today if he had.”
Police Cpl. William Feissner said Prussock had a blood alcohol level of .181 percent soon after he crashed his 2000 Oldsmobile Bravada into a 1993 Ford Tempo driven by Kringer’s father, 69-year-old Joseph T. Gigliotti, on East Butler Drive on April 24.
Feissner said the crash happened at about 1:45 p.m., a time of day when township police are seeing an increase in drunken-driving crashes.
“We’re seeing a trend with DUI crashes happening during the day,” Feissner said. “We’ve had eight DUIs during the day in the past eight months.”
Wearing T-shirts and buttons with Gigliotti’s picture, his family sat quietly as Prussock was charged with homicide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, two counts each of reckless endangering another person and driving under the influence and several traffic offenses.
Prussock, of Hi-Tor East, Freeland, surrendered with his attorney, Lewis Bott, at the office of District Judge Daniel O’Donnell in Sugarloaf. He was released on $50,000 unsecured bail, awaiting a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for May 28.
Known as “Jo Jo” to his family and friends, Gigliotti was a lovable man who cared about those closest to him, Kringer said.
“My dad had a lot of life to live,” Kringer said. “He had elderly friends he took care of.”
Kringer said she doesn’t want her father to become “a statistic,” but wants the tragedy to become a message for others not to drink and drive.
“Because of a poor decision ... my sister won’t have a father to walk her down the aisle,” Kringer said.
Feissner said an investigation determined Prussock was westbound on East Butler Drive and crossed the double-yellow line into on-coming traffic forcing a vehicle, driven by Alfred Herness, off the road.
Prussock’s vehicle then collided with Gigliotti’s vehicle, Feissner said.
Gigliotti was pronounced dead at the scene, according to arrest records.
The force of the impact caused Prussock’s vehicle to roll onto its roof. He was flown to Lehigh Valley Medical Center near Allentown for injuries he suffered.
Police said the blood samples were taken from Prussock two hours after the crash.
“His blood alcohol level was .181 percent, more than twice the legal limit,” Feissner said.
An adult driver in Pennsylvania is considered legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent.