(AP) The stepson of a state police corporal might have received preferential treatment after causing a fatal drunken-driving crash in the Poconos three years ago, an attorney for the victim’s family said Thursday.


(AP) The stepson of a state police corporal might have received preferential treatment after causing a fatal drunken-driving crash in the Poconos three years ago, an attorney for the victim’s family said Thursday.
Attorney Mark Tanner wrote to the attorney general and state police commissioner that a “serious crime has gone unpunished” because state police failed to adequately investigate the April 2005 crash in Wayne County.
“Either the investigation that was conducted by state police was extraordinarily inept, or alternatively, this young man got some preferential treatment that I don’t think other citizens of this commonwealth would receive,” Tanner told The Associated Press.
State police spokesman Jack Lewis told the AP that the investigation into the crash remains open, and that Tanner’s letter has been referred to the state police Internal Affairs Division “for a determination of whether an internal investigation is warranted.”
Dean O’Halloran, then 22, was drunk when he swerved over the center line with his box truck and slammed into a car driven by Diane Glynn, a single mother of three, Tanner said.
O’Halloran called his stepfather, state police Cpl. Michael McTavish, from the scene, Tanner said. A state police trooper then arrived to investigate the crash but failed to conduct a field sobriety test, nor did he ask O’Halloran to take a breath test or a blood-alcohol test, according to Tanner.
“Luckily, hospital personnel themselves requested blood alcohol testing on Mr. O’Halloran,” Tanner wrote in a Feb. 21 letter to Attorney General Tom Corbett, state police commissioner Col. Jeffrey Miller and Wayne County District Attorney Michael Lehutsky.
The test revealed that O’Halloran’s blood-alcohol level more than two hours after the crash was 0.149, nearly twice the legal limit for driving, Tanner said.
O’Halloran was never prosecuted. Police say he also was involved in a hit-and-run accident less than three hours before he crashed into Glynn.
Tanner, of Philadelphia, represented Glynn’s children in a civil suit against O’Halloran and his employer, Erie Materials Inc. of Scranton, for whom O’Halloran was driving at the time of the crash. The case was settled in early February for $11 million.
McTavish did not immediately respond to a request for comment. O’Halloran’s attorney in the civil case did not return a phone call.
The trooper who investigated the crash, Patrick Foy, said in a deposition for the civil case that he believes O’Halloran fell asleep at the wheel. He said he did not order a blood-alcohol test because O’Halloran did not appear drunk, and that medical personnel on the scene also did not indicate any signs of intoxication.
“He was coherent, didn’t have an odor of an alcoholic beverage about him, didn’t appear to be injured in a major way,” he said. “He appeared normal.”
In his own deposition, O’Halloran said he could not remember the events leading up to the crash. He said he had only gotten about five hours of sleep the night before and was tired when he woke up.
When asked whether he had been drinking the night before, he took the Fifth Amendment and declined to answer.
McTavish accompanied O’Halloran to a meeting with Foy several months after the crash. Foy, who said he did not know McTavish before the interview, said McTavish indicated that he wanted O’Halloran “to come clean and face the music.”
“I took it to mean that he wanted O’Halloran to cooperate, tell the truth, and should there be any prosecution, to just plead guilty,” Foy said.
In his letter, Tanner called for O’Halloran to be prosecuted and for an internal investigation into how his case was handled.
Maj. Lynn Hess, Miller’s executive officer, called Tanner on Wednesday to let him know that the police investigation into the crash remains open, said Lewis, the state police spokesman.
“He also told Tanner that Tanner’s letter was being referred to the Internal Affairs Division ... for a determination of whether an internal investigation is warranted,” Lewis said via e-mail.
McTavish supervises the state police Computer Crime Task Force, working out of departmental headquarters in Harrisburg. Foy, the crash investigator, retired in October of 2005 after nearly 25 years on the force.
Tanner said he does not know if McTavish called Foy or any other trooper on O’Halloran’s behalf. But he said the evidence is clear that the state police investigation into the crash was woefully inadequate.
“Somebody has to stand up for these children who lost their mom and make sure there is some degree of accountability,” Tanner said. “That’s much better than having these kids go through life thinking their mother was killed and nobody ever cared.”
According to state police, O’Halloran was involved in a hit-and-run crash with his personal vehicle on Interstate 81 in Lackawanna County less than three hours before he crashed into Glynn. Witnesses said O’Halloran had been driving erratically for at least 10 miles before sideswiping a car.
After that accident, O’Halloran got out, briefly looked at his Chevrolet Blazer and then sped away, police said. It wasn’t immediately clear if O’Halloran was charged.
A police report noting O’Halloran’s involvement in both crashes said that the “investigation will remain open pending a determination of county of prosecution.”
O’Halloran was charged with drunken driving when he was 18. His license was suspended and he was accepted into a first-time offenders program.