PLEASANT GAP FATAL CRASH:Witnesses tell police couple fought over keys

PLEASANT GAP FATAL CRASH: Witnesses tell police couple fought over keys, Man suspected of drunken driving

sganim@centredaily.comAugust 6, 2010 

BELLEFONTE — The 25-year-old Bellefonte woman killed in a Pleasant Gap crash early July 25 had quit drinking early in the night and tried to take the car keys from her boyfriend, friends of the couple told police.

But 21-year-old Shawn Meter insisted on driving, according statements from those friends, and around 2:30 a.m. the car carrying the couple crashed near the 500 block of East College Avenue.

Witnesses told police the car looked as if it was going 100 mph when the vehicle spun out of control for 380 feet.

Julie Ann Webster was thrown from the car and died after being flown to Altoona Hospital.

Meter had to be extricated from the wreckage by rescue workers. He survived with serious injuries that required surgery, police said. On Thursday, he was no longer listed as a patient at the hospital.

A search warrant filed by Spring Township police says Meter told EMS personnel that he had been drinking since 3 p.m. July 24.

Friends of the couple told police they had a fight while they were at a bar that night, and Webster quit drinking when they arrived at the Nittany Lion Inn so she could drive them home.

“But Meter wouldn’t let her drive,” court papers said. “... Meter is suspected of driving under the influence.”

Meter’s cell phone was found at the scene and identified by police.

Court records show Meter was charged with DUI in September and was in a probationary program for that charge at the time of the crash.

As part of a crash reconstruction — which usually takes weeks — police are asking for Meter’s cell phone records, both Webster’s and Meter’s medical records, and any statements they made to medical staff while being transported.

Webster worked as a lab technician at Nittany Valley Podiatry and part-time as a dietary aide at Centre Crest nursing home. Marcha Drake, a patient at Nittany Valley Podiatry, recalled learning of her death.

“She’s was one of the most delightful young women I have ever known,” Drake said. “That office on Tuesday morning was unbelievable. Remember the old Charlie Brown with the cloud over the head? That was the office.”

Webster grew up in Bellefonte and was living there with her parents, trying to get a job as a drug and alcohol counselor or probation officer, her family said.

“She was very, very family oriented,” said her father, Jeffrey Webster, in an interview last week. “I just found something on Face-book just a week or so ago that she said how much she cared about her relatives and all of us and that we were like the center of her life.”

Sara Ganim can be reached at 231-4616.

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