A Milesburg man who police said lied about being the driver in a fatal crash on Benner Pike now faces homicide by vehicle charges in the death of his wife.
State College police filed charges Monday against David Bartley, 49, alleging he was under the influence of prescription pills when he lost control of his Jeep Grand Cherokee in July and crashed into a telephone pole near Tractor Supply Co., killing his wife, Susan Bartley, 43.
Bartley initially claimed his wife was driving, telling officers at the scene she threw herself across him to save him, police wrote in a criminal complaint filed Monday.
He confessed later in July, explaining his wife asked him to drive because she was not feeling well, police alleged.
Toxicology tests showed David Bartley was under the influence of oxycodone, a narcotic painkiller, and alprazolam, used to treat anxiety.
Susan Bartley did not have drugs or alcohol in her system, according to results of an autopsy.
Police said Bartley maintains the crash occurred when he swerved to miss another vehicle in the center of the road.
Witnesses, however, said there was no car in Bartley’s path. One witness reportedly was traveling in front of Bartley’s vehicle and saw him driving erratically just before the crash.
Others who saw the crash said David Bartley exited the vehicle from the driver’s side door. Susan Bartley was found just outside the passenger side door, police said.
Bartley allegedly told witnesses at the scene that his wife “flew right over” him into the passenger seat, police wrote in the complaint.
Susan Bartley was pronounced dead at the scene. She died of blunt force trauma to the chest and head, according to the autopsy.
David Bartley suffered what police called minor injuries in the crash and was treated and released from Mount Nittany Medical Center.
He was charged Monday with felony counts of homicide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle while DUI and accidents involving death or personal injury, and misdemeanor counts of DUI and making false reports to law enforcement.
Bartley was arraigned before District Judge Thomas Jordan and sent to Centre County prison on $50,000 bail.
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.