Car Salesman Stacks Evo, Kills Passenger

File this one under “senseless, preventable tragedy”: a Pennsylvania man was killed, and his son badly injured, when they car they were in lost control and hit an embankment. At the wheel was Michael Hershey, a car salesman who wanted to show off the handling capabilities of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution his dealership was selling. It turns out that Hershey had been drinking prior to the accident, and also tested positive for marijuana use. A blood test showed a BAC of .06, below the .08 level for impairment in Pennsylvania, but still more than is advisable for demonstrating the handling limits of a car to potential buyers.

The accident happened on December 30 of last year, when Chris Jensen visited Imports of Lancaster County to look at the Mitsubishi Evo with his 21 year old son, Tyler. Tyler Jensen was behind the wheel when the trio left the dealership, but Hershey soon insisted on driving to show the Jensen’s “how to throw the car sideways” in corners. Witnesses estimate that Hershey was traveling in excess of 90 miles per hour on a narrow country road when a truck pulled into his path; attempting to swerve around it, Hershey lost control and the car hit an embankment. Despite suffering from broken vertebrae in his neck, a separated shoulder and a concussion, Tyler performed CPR on his father, who died at the scene. Hershey, who wasn’t seriously injured in the crash, now resides at the Lancaster County Prison awaiting trial on homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence of a controlled substance, reckless endangerment and driving at an unsafe speed.

My sympathies go out to the Jensen family, but I’ll use the tragedy as a “teachable moment”. If I’m in a car driven in a reckless manner, I’ll speak up right away, especially if I don’t know the skill level of the driver. I know my own limits, which come from years of experience behind the wheel, both on-track and off. I like to wind cars out as much as anyone else does, but there’s a time and a place for everything. A narrow country road, at dusk in winter, isn’t the place to test the limits of a car’s handling, or your ability to drive it.

Source: Lancaster Online, via Jalopnik