EPHRATA WOMAN JAILED FOR USING METH, MARIJUANA PRIOR TO CRASH THAT KILLED FRIEND

An Ephrata woman will serve at least three years in prison for being intoxicated when she caused a single-vehicle crash last year in West Cocalico Township that killed her friend.

Bethany C. Gee, 20, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Lancaster County Court to vehicular homicide while DUI, DUI, and related counts regarding the May 13, 2016, crash that killed 20-year-old Stephanie Gerola.

Gerola was a front-seat passenger when Gee sped through an intersection and crashed the vehicle into a wall on West Queen Street.

Ephrata police determined Gee was driving between 60 and 68 mph, in a 35 mph zone, prior to the crash.

Gee apologized in court as Gerola’s family watched from the courtroom gallery, according to Assistant District Attorney Maria Cusick, lead prosecutor.

Lancaster County President Judge Dennis Reinaker then ordered a sentence of 3 to 6 years in prison, to be followed by 4 years of probation.

Gee and three other passengers in the car were injured in the crash, which happened just before midnight. Gerola died at the scene.

Gee admitted to using methamphetamine and marijuana prior to driving. She said she sped up after seeing a police vehicle, then drove through an intersection and lost control of the vehicle.

In all, she pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide while DUI, multiple counts of DUI and reckless endangerment, and summary violations.

Ephrata police Officer Brandon Bartholomew filed charges.

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