Bensalem Man Sent to State Prison for Hit-and Run that Injured 2 in Crash
A 43-year-old man pleaded guilty on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, to a hit-and-run crash of two pedestrians, one who suffered serious injuries, on New Year’s Day 2021 in Bensalem Township.
Almondo Merjia, of Bensalem, was sentenced to 2 ½ years to 5 years in state prison by President Judge Wallace H. Bateman after entering a guilty plea to aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, aggravated assault by vehicle and accidents involving death of injury while not licensed, which are all felonies.
Merjia also pleaded guilty to DUI and several summary traffic offenses. He received a concurrent 72-hour to 6-month sentence on the DUI offense.
Bateman also ordered Merjia to pay $9,526 in restitution.
The investigation began at 6:25 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2021, when a Bensalem Township police officer witnessed a car make a right turn onto southbound Hulmeville Road from Street Road and drive into the northbound lane of Hulmeville Road. The car stopped before crashing, and the officer pulled it over.
The driver, identified as Merjia, smelled of alcohol, the officer said, also noting that there was fresh damage to Merjia’s car, which was consistent with a pedestrian crash because there was head-strike damage to the windshield that contained human tissue and blood.
The officer had Merjia perform field-sobriety tests, which he failed. A blood test later confirmed that Merjia’s blood-alcohol content was .230, nearly three times the legal limit to drive. Merjia also had no driver’s license.
While Merjia was in custody, Bensalem police were investigating a hit-and-run crash of two pedestrians on Street Road. When questioned, Merjia admitted to “hitting something” while driving on Street Road and that he did not stop.
The crash investigation revealed that the two pedestrians were walking on the shoulder of Street Road when Merjia drove his car off the road, over the rumble strips and onto the shoulder, striking both of them.
Merjia was going 40 mph when he hit them. One of the victims spent several weeks on a ventilator with injuries that included a torn aorta, a compound fracture of the right femur, a torn quadricep, lacerations to the face, sinus fractures, a lung contusion, a fractured pelvis, and a traumatic brain injury.
The second victim suffered minor injuries to the abdomen.
This case was investigated by Bensalem Township Police Department and was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James.