BUCKS COUNTY — A Quakertown man who ignored his passengers’ pleas to slow down moments before a devastating wreck that claimed the life of a Dallas man was sentenced Monday to up to 14 years in state prison.
Stanley D. Kaminski Jr., 24, drunk and high on marijuana at the time, was driving as fast as 100 mph when his vehicle skidded into a ditch, went airborne and collided with a row of trees before coming to rest along Route 309 in West Rockhill Township on July 5, according to a criminal complaint.
Dallas native Todd Rubin, 24, was a passenger in the front seat car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Passengers Jacob Winter, 23, and Summer DeCastro, 18, survived severe injuries.
According to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, Rubin’s mother said in a letter read in court the damage done to her family was “unspeakable.” Linda Lagdon wrote that her son was set to walk her down the aisle, but instead died three weeks before her wedding.
“Stan’s family should be glad he’s still here, and that they don’t have to look at an urn like my mother does,” said Rubin’s sister, Shelby Rubin.
According to the complaint, Kaminski was behind the wheel after the group decided to leave a party in Quakertown and drive to an apartment in Philadelphia. Kaminski, agitated over an argument with his girlfriend’s father, began driving at a high rate of speed once the vehicle got on the highway and continued accelerating despite requests to slow down.
Winter, who suffered a broken neck in the crash, told police he remembered feeling the impact of the ditch before blacking out. He came to as firefighters were cutting the roof of the car to extract the occupants, the complaint says.
Kaminski was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .128 percent and tested positive for synthetic marijuana.
He previously pleaded guilty to charges of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle, recklessly endangering another person and driving under the influence, according to documents filed in Bucks County Court.
Kaminski, a repeat DUI offender who had previously been convicted of burglary, had numerous chances to overcome personal hardships, said Bucks County Judge Rea B. Boylan. He could have listened to his passengers and slowed down, which “he did not,” the judge said.
“I was the only person with a car and I didn’t think I was too messed up to drive,” Kaminski told the judge. “I made the worst decision of my life.”