WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County District Attorney’s Office and West Sadsbury Police Department jointly announced that Tricia Consul, age 37, of Atglen, has been charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, involuntary manslaughter, and multiple other charges. The defendant was involved in a May 2021 car crash in West Sadsbury Township in which her 8-year-old child was killed and two other children, ages 9 and 11, were seriously injured. The defendant is held at Chester County Prison on $100,000 bail with 10% set by Magisterial District Judge Nancy Gill.
“Tricia Consul’s inexcusable decision to drive while under the influence of drugs resulted in the tragic death of her 8-year-old child and injuries to two other young children, including her other child,” said Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan. “Her behavior was reckless and dangerous, and showed no regard for the safety of the children in her car or other drivers on the road. This horrific case demonstrates the irreparable dangers of driving while high or drunk and its ramifications on people’s lives. My office will work diligently to ensure justice for the child who died and the child survivors.”
The allegations are as follows:
On May 22, 2021, West Sadsbury Police responded to a one-car crash in the 4800-block of Strasburg Road involving the entrapment of passengers with serious injuries. The crash occurred after the defendant struck a bridge abutment with four people inside. The car had severe damage to the right front passenger side; multiple airbags were deployed.
Police started CPR on an unrestrained 8-year-old child sitting in the front passenger seat who was not breathing. The child was transported to Brandywine Hospital and Nemours Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, where she was pronounced dead.
Police located a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old, who had been riding in the back seat, outside the car, with serious injuries. They were transported to area hospitals where one was determined to have a broken arm and the other a broken jaw. Both were treated and released.
The defendant was taken to Paoli Hospital, where she submitted to a blood test. The defendant suffered a broken femur and sternum and a lacerated spleen.
A witness to the crash told investigators that the defendant was passing a tractor pulling a trailer and a lawn mower driving on the road. The witness said that as the defendant pulled back into the proper lane, she failed to straighten out and hit the bridge.
The tractor-driver told investigators that the defendant’s car came within feet of the trailer as it passed. The driver said the defendant hit the bridge as she moved back into her lane. The driver immediately called 911 and said that as he approached the defendant’s car, the defendant was facetiming with another person.
Police executed a search warrant on the car and recovered a syringe with a brown substance, a prescription pill bottle and a paper prescription with the defendant’s name, two pharmacy receipts, and ten loose pills, among other things. A forensic search warrant of the defendant’s cell phone showed that at the time of the crash, it was being used to facilitate an exchange of marijuana for Klonopin at a location the defendant was driving towards.
The toxicology report showed that the defendant tested positive for numerous drugs, including Oxycodone, Klonopin & THC.
An investigation by the Serious Crash Assistance Team determined that seatbelts were not used by anyone in the car, including the three children, when the crash occurred. Police also learned that the defendant’s driver’s license was suspended and expired at the time of the accident.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 20, 2022. The charges against Consul resulted from an investigation conducted by Chester County Detectives and the West Sadsbury Township Police. Assistant District Attorney Justin Roberts is the assigned prosecutor.
Information, a criminal complaint, or an arrest is not a declaration of guilt. A suspect, arrestee, or defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If you or anyone you know suffers from a substance use disorder, contact law enforcement for help. The Law Enforcement Treatment Initiative (LETI) lets people with substance use disorders use local police to be connected to treatment at no cost. Additionally, the National Drug HelpLine at 1-844-289-0879 is available 24/7 to help those suffering from the impact of drugs and alcohol.