DUI Driver Who Killed Lyft Passenger Sent to State Prison
A Toronto man has been sentenced to state prison for killing a Northampton man and severely injuring his wife and their Lyft driver in a DUI crash.
Shane Learn, 49, was sentenced Wednesday in Bucks County Court to four and a half to nine years behind bars for the April 28 collision in the 4000 block of Richlieu Road in Bensalem.
“This case screams and reeks of irony – cruel irony,” said Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James, who noted deceased victim Neil Weiner, 57, and his wife Audrey Shapiro did “exactly what is expected” by arranging for a ride to Parx Casino when planning to drink alcohol.
“And their payment for being responsible adults is death and disfigurement, because [the defendant] doesn’t get it,” James said.
Weiner succumbed to extensive injuries May 1, and Learn was charged about a week later.
Shapiro said while her own pain and serious injuries rattled her, the sight of her husband in a hospital bed “shook me to my core.”
“This should never have happened,” she said.
Learn pleaded guilty in November to counts of homicide by vehicle while DUI, aggravated assault by vehicle and related charges before Judge Jeffrey G. Trauger.
According to a criminal complaint and court records, Learn, who trained race horses, had been drinking at Parx Casino prior to the crash. One of his horses had won that day, he said in court, and he had two beers and a shot of Jameson whiskey before leaving.
From Parx he drove to a nearby LongHorn Steakhouse where he said he drank another Jameson, this time a double shot.
While driving just before 7 p.m. to a residence in Bensalem where he had been living, Learn’s Ford F-150 slammed head on into the Chevrolet Malibu driven by Daniel Weingart and carrying Weiner and Shapiro.
Through investigation, police determined Learn’s vehicle was traveling with its cruise control engaged at the time of the crash.
“I just made a horrible mistake,” Learn told the victims and surviving family at his sentencing.
Despite a “preexisting apprehension” about the roads where he was driving, he said a “distorted self-entitlement” and “alcoholic denial” propelled him onward the day of the crash.
“I don’t have a lot of loved ones,” he said. “I don’t have any kids. I don’t know how you feel. I can’t even imagine the unrelenting agony you have had to feel, and probably still.”
Learn said he knew he was too drunk to drive, and has been racked by remorse since the crash.
Learn’s attorney Donald Williford told the judge U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has filed a detainer for his client, and he expects the man will be deported to Canada after serving his sentence.
Before imposing sentence, Judge Trauger said he believes Learn does feel “regret and shame” over the incident, and issued condolences to the victims. He said he hopes the crash could deter future tragedy.
“It is my hope that at some time, in some place, in some way these events will be recalled by some future driver,” he said.
The crash was investigated by the Bensalem Township Police Department.
Contact: Robert D. James, 215.348.6332, firstname.lastname@example.org