Driver in fatal Butler crash had alcohol, drugs in his system

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A Butler County man was driving under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs when he collided with another vehicle, killing its driver and himself in June, state police said today.

Lt. Eric Hermick of the Butler barracks said Michael H. Reid, 38, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.098 -- beyond the state's legal limit of 0.08 -- and high levels of a generic form of the antidepressant, Paxil, and synthetic codeine.

Mr. Reid, of Butler Township, was driving at or near 100 mph west in the eastbound lane of Route 68 in Forward late on June 18 when he crashed into a vehicle driven by Hannah D. Swigart, 36, of Butler, who police said was on her way home from work. Both died at the scene.

Police have said that a short time before the crash, Mr. Reid had tried to break into his ex-girlfriend's house in Butler on West View Drive. He drove off, but called her while she was with a responding Butler police officer, to whom she passed the phone.

Mr. Reid told the officer he would be dead by morning and that police could read about it in the paper, and police were investigating the possibility that the crash was intentional.

Lt. Hermick noted that Mr. Reid was speeding and made no attempt to steer away from oncoming traffic, according to the preliminary investigating findings. The coroner, he said, ruled the crash an accident.

"It's in the gray area," the lieutenant said, adding later: "We'll never know the true circumstances of his mindset prior" to the crash.


First Published August 6, 2014 12:00 AM

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