Police say 85-year-old lied on insurance forms about son’s driving
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
The 85-year-old mother of a 50-year-old repeat drunk-driver – presently accused of homicide by vehicle while DUI – has been charged with insurance fraud, Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police said Wednesday in a news release.
Police said the charges against Louise Landis of West Chester stem from the continuing investigation into a fatal motorcycle accident that occurred on Wilmington Pike at Stanton Avenue in Westtown Township on April 26 at 10:28 p.m. Robert E. Landis, Louise Landis’s son, was the driver of a Dodge Ram pick-up that turned into the path of a northbound motorcycle. Its operator, Liam Crowley, 24, died two days later of injuries sustained in the crash, police said.
Investigators learned that the insurance claim filed by the Crowley family was denied because Robert Landis was an excluded driver from the Progressive Insurance Company coverage for the Dodge Ram Truck and that Louise Landis signed insurance papers reporting that she would be the driver of the Dodge Ram truck, not her son, police said. Police said investigators also determined that Louise Landis never drove the Dodge Ram truck, but placed it in her name because of her son’s driving record, which includes seven DUI convictions.
Louise Landis was arrested Tuesday at her residence and arraigned before Magisterial District Judge William Kraut. She was released on $5,000 unsecured bail to await a preliminary hearing on July 30, court records said.
Robert Landis remains in Chester County Prison awaiting trial on charges that include homicide by vehicle with driving under the influence of alcohol, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked-DUI related, homicide by vehicle, and involuntary manslaughter.
According to the criminal complaint, Robert Landis had a blood-alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit and a suspended license at the time of the crash. He admitted to police at the scene that he was the driver of the truck, which contained numerous empty and full beer cans.
Police observed that Landis had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and a strong odor of alcohol; Landis told police he only had “a couple of beers,” which blood testing disproved, the complaint said. Police said Crowley, who was wearing a helmet, was driving in a straight line when Robert Landis turned into his path.