MERCER — A Meadville man will be sentenced later this year for killing a Conneaut Lake area man in a high-speed, drunken-driving crash in March 2018 in Mercer County.

Daniel R. Bell is scheduled for formal sentencing Dec. 5 in Mercer County Court of Common Pleas after pleading guilty to a third-degree felony count of homicide by vehicle and an ungraded misdemeanor count of driving under the influence by a minor filed by Pennsylvania State Police.

Bell, now 21, of 40 Forest Ave. pleaded guilty to the two counts in Mercer County court last week for his role in the death of Codie Alan King, 26, of Conneaut Lake as part of a plea agreement with the Mercer County District Attorney's Office.

Bell was scheduled to go on trial on charges of third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle while DUI, homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, DUI and DUI by a minor plus six traffic summary charges in connection with King's death.

As part the plea agreement, Bell has agreed to serve one day short of two years in jail followed by five years of probation for pleading guilty to the two counts and the other charges won't be prosecuted.

The third-degree felony homicide by vehicle charge has a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $15,000. 

In accepting Bell's plea Sept. 4, Mercer County President Judge Robert G. Yeats noted the DA's Office had conferred both with King's family and police about the plea agreement before it was offered to Bell, according to court documents.

Bell was age 20 when he crashed a pickup truck he was driving along Petersburg Road in Sandy Creek Township in northern Mercer County, killing his passenger, King, police said.

The crash happened just before 11 a.m. March 30, 2018, near the intersection of Petersburg, Long Hill and Sheakleyville-Greenville roads — about two miles west of Sheakleyville.

Bell was traveling west on Petersburg Road at an estimated 87 to 94 miles per hour five seconds before the crash when the truck spun off the road on a curve and hit trees with both its right and left sides, according to the arrest affidavit. The posted speed limit on the road is 45 miles per hour, the affidavit said.

Bell and King were not wearing seat belts, according to the affidavit. King's death was ruled due to blunt force trauma by Robert Snyder, Mercer County deputy coroner.

Bell's blood alcohol level was 0.082 percent, according to the affidavit.

Under Pennsylvania law, a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent is considered to be under the influence of alcohol if operating a vehicle.

Under the agreement, Bell will be sentenced to serve a county jail sentence of one to two years less one day followed by five years of probation with Bell serving the entire two years less one day in county jail. Bell also will be ordered to perform 300 hours of community service and will be eligible for work release, according to the agreement.

According to court documents, neither Mercer County Court of Common Pleas nor the District Attorney's Office will object to Bell being transferred to the Crawford County jail to serve his sentence if Bell's defense attorney Stephen Misko can arrange a transfer.

Bell will be required to serve the complete sentence as set in the plea agreement and the formal sentence order issued when Bell is sentenced in December, according to court documents.

Bell remains free on $25,000 unsecured bond as he awaits sentencing.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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