BELLEFONTE — The driver in a crash on Axemann Road that killed a man last year will avoid jail time.
Travis Burckhard, 26, of Bellefonte, pleaded guilty Monday and was immediately sentenced to four years of supervised probation. His plea came before he was scheduled to go to trial for homicide by vehicle and related charges from the Oct. 11, 2011, crash that killed his friend and back-seat passenger 22-year-old Daniel Flood.
Flood’s family asked that Burckhard not be given jail time as part of his punishment.
Senior Judge Charles Brown sentenced Burckhard to four years of probation on the lead charge, homicide by vehicle.
Burckhard’s attorney, Brian Manchester, said the decision to plead guilty happened after a discussion about the case with the judge.
Authorities had said Burckhard was driving faster than 60 mph in a 25 mph zone when he lost control of his vehicle, which spun off the road and struck a pole and a fire hydrant.
At Burckhard’s preliminary hearing in February, a state police accident reconstructionist, determined Burckhard was driving as fast as 64 mph around a bend when he lost control of the vehicle.
District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said Flood's family did not want Burckhard to serve jail time, though prosecutors did ask that Burckhard be sentenced to prison.
“We are happy he accepted responsibility, but we would have preferred that he was sentenced to some measure of incarceration as this was a completely avoidable death that only occurred to the defendant’s deliberate driving choices and extreme recklessness,” Parks Miller said.
Burckhard has been upset and sorry about the death of his friend, said his attorney, Brian Manchester.
“He apologized to Mr. Flood's mother at the funeral and in court as well as to Mr. Flood’s father in court,” Manchester said. “My client will now go on and become a productive citizen, learn from this and try and teach other people to be more careful so that tragedies like this can be avoided.”