Howard man charged with DUI days after being released from jail for causing fatal crash

Centre Daily Times, file
·2 min read

A Howard man who served about three months in jail for causing a deadly crash was charged Wednesday with drunken driving.

Brandon Deitz, 37, was released from the Centre County Correctional Facility less than a week ago after serving the jail portion of his sentence.

He was stopped about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Howard Divide Road and Cantolina Lane because one of his brake lights was not working and his vehicle’s registration was expired, state police at Rockview wrote in an affidavit of probable cause.

Deitz showed several signs of impairment, police wrote, including “very slow” reactions, droopy eyelids and bloodshot eyes. He failed a field sobriety test and refused a blood test, police wrote.

A defense lawyer was not listed. Centre County First Assistant Public Defender Lora Rupert, who represented Deitz previously, wrote in a text message that she has not been selected to represent him and declined comment.

Deitz was charged with one misdemeanor count of DUI and four summary traffic violations. He was arraigned Wednesday by District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker, who denied bail. A court document labeled Deitz a “public safety concern.”

He’s detained at the Centre County Correctional Facility. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 1.

Deitz pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor in the death of Stephanie Wilson, a 36-year-old he hit with a 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck during a morning rush hour in July 2020 in downtown Bellefonte.

He was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and was not accused of driving recklessly. A state police investigator estimated Deitz was driving about 22 mph — within the speed limit — when he hit Wilson.

He stopped almost immediately, but fled before calling for help because he was “scared and nervous,” police wrote in a separate affidavit of probable cause. A woman called police on his behalf less than 10 minutes after the crash.

Deitz offered a tearful apology before being sentenced, saying, “If I could take it back, it would be me instead of her.” He was sentenced to 90 days to one year in jail, followed by two years of probation.

Thomas Wilson, Stephanie’s husband, declined comment.