Cops: Sleeping Driver Caused I-78 Crash that Killed Washington Twp. Man

Pennsylvania State Police charge Allentown truck driver with homicide by vehicle in Interstate 78 accident.

The scene of a deadly crash on I-78 last week. (Contributed photo by Colby Kent)
The scene of a deadly crash on I-78 last week. (Contributed photo by Colby Kent)
By Tom Coombe 

State police in Pennsylvania say an Allentown truck driver fell asleep at the wheel last week on Interstate 78, causing a fiery wreck that killed a Hackettstown man.

Robert Gawne Sr., 55, was charged Thursday with homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Daniel Murphy last week.

Murphy, 65, died of burns and smoke inhalation last Monday when Gawne's tractor trailer collided with his car at the toll plaza on I-78 west in Williams Township.

According to police, Gawne was interviewed after the crash and admitted to nodding off about a half-hour before he got to the toll plaza. He allegedly told investigators he had been rolling down the windows and blasting the radio to stay awake.

Gawne was arraigned before District Judge Daniel Corpora on Easton's South Side. He was released on $50,000 unsecured bail. In addition to the homicide and manslaughter charges, he is also charged with reckless endangerment and a number of traffic offenses.


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