More details released after charges filed in fatal 2012 Benner Pike crash

lfalce@centredaily.comFebruary 14, 2014 

Danielle N. Packer

Danielle N. Packer was charged with a slate of crimes in the death of Matthew Snyder at her arraignment Wednesday.

Court documents Thursday detail that in addition to the most serious offenses —third-degree murder and aggravated assault — she faces charges for homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, involuntary manslaughter, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, sale or illegal use of certain solvents and noxious substances, and a number of summary traffic offenses.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Packer had been huffing solvents from aerosol cans before crashing her 2006 Chevy Trailblazer into the 2003 Hyundai Accent driven by Snyder on state Route 150 in Benner Township on Aug. 6, 2012.

Blood tests conducted at Mount Nittany Medical Center after the incident showed difluoroethane in Packer’s blood.

The affidavit also included information from Packer’s mother, who was interviewed in January 2013. She said at that time that her daughter’s boyfriend, who was a passenger at the time of the crash, admitted that they had huffed air duster in the parking lot at Wal-Mart for about 20 to 30 minutes before driving away, “and kept doing it.”

Packer is quoted as telling police that she inhaled two times in five second bursts, and that later, while approaching the red light at Shiloh Road and Benner Pike, she inhaled twice more in two-second bursts, and that she did not recall anything else until after the crash.

Trooper Frank Gaus Jr., a state police crash reconstructionist, is quoted in the filing saying, “It is this officer’s belief that (Packer) was not in control of her vehicle for at least 5 seconds and possibly longer due to the inhalant use.”

Packer was remanded to Centre County Correctional Facility in lieu of $500,000 bond.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller argued for the high bail at the arraignment, comparing the crime to “pointing a loaded gun at a crowd of innocent people, and here, the worst predictable thing happened.”

She also pointed to Packer’s arrest in August 2013 for retail theft and receiving stolen property, while the accident was still under investigation, as “evidencing her lack of regard for court orders, and a mind showing a disregard for social duty and disregard for the safety of the community.”

Follow Lori Falce on Twitter @LoriFalce.

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