Home Vehicle Accidents Guilty plea comes seven years after crash that killed Berks County pastor

Guilty plea comes seven years after crash that killed Berks County pastor

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The man charged with being more than four times the legal limit for drunk driving when he crashed into a motorcycle carrying two Berks County pastors — killing one and costing the other a leg — has pleaded guilty to numerous counts in that fatal accident.

Sean Eyrich, 38, of Bern Township, pleaded guilty Thursday in Berks County Court to charges of homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault while driving drunk, DUI, and crossing the center line of traffic.

The crash occurred June 7, 2015, in Bern Township when Eyrich’s SUV struck and killed the Rev. R. Lynn Koch, 53, and seriously injured her husband, the Rev. Bryan Koch, 51, at the time the lead pastor at GT Church in Spring Township.

Eyrich, who entered the plea before Judge James M. Lillis, had already been out on bail and now remains free as he received credit for 1,076 days previously served in state prison.

He received an additional 15 years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution of $384,328.

He had previously pleaded guilty in the case in 2015, but the state Superior Court ordered a new trial due to a matter involving the restitution.

Koch and his wife, who was also a pastor at GT Church, had just held a service for law enforcement and emergency responders when the crash occurred at about 6 p.m. in the 1000 block of Grange Road.

Authorities said Eyrich had a blood-alcohol level of 0.329 percent, more than four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Lynn Koch died at the scene. Bryan Koch was in a medically induced coma for three weeks and lost his left leg from the knee down.

Bryan Koch returned to the pulpit in October 2015 following 17 surgeries. He left GT Church recently and became part of Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge.

When Eyrich initially pleaded guilty, the district attorney’s office could not determine the exact amount of restitution since Koch was still amassing medical expenses. Therefore the plea was entered pending the restitution amount.

When that figure was submitted within 30 days of the plea, Eyrich appealed, and in 2018 the Superior Court ordered the new trial.

Eyrich was released on bail at that point and required to wear a monitor that would report if he drank alcohol.

In the interim, the U.S. Supreme Court changed the law regarding warrantless blood draws in DUI cases. Berks County Court later ruled that the district attorney’s office was unable to use the results of Eyrich’s blood test as evidence in the case.

Eyrich was scheduled to go to trial in July 2022 but instead agreed to the guilty plea and sentence.

He will lose his driver’s license for at least five years, prosecutors said.

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