WEST CHESTER – An Elverson man delivered an emotional apology at his sentencing to a mother of four young children he struck with his car on a Phoenixville street while fleeing from a police stop.
The prosecutor handling the case of Jeffrey Delos Bowerman, Assistant District Attorney Mackenzie Smith, said the defendant’s plea for forgiveness seemed not only genuine, but also heartfelt, as both he and the woman he struck and sent to the hospital wept in the courtroom.
“This was a serious case involving a defendant who engaged in extremely reckless conduct,” Smith said after Bowerman’s sentencing on Thursday before Common Pleas Judge Patrick Carmody. “But after making some terrible decisions, this defendant accepted responsibility by cooperating with police, pleading guilty, and expressing regret. The commonwealth is satisfied that justice has been served.”
Bowerman was driving a Chevrolet Tahoe on a November afternoon in the 600 block of Bridge Street when Phoenixville police officer Frank Bryan attempted to pull his car over because it displayed an out-of-date inspection sticker. Nervous because he was driving on a suspended license stemming from a 2003 driving under the influence conviction, Bowerman, 37, tried to flee and ended up striking a parked car and the woman, Deidre Beckett of Pottstown, who was a pedestrian.
Beckett was taken to the hospital and treated for leg, back and head injuries. Smith said that although she suffered no broken bones, she did have a lacerated kidney. “She still experiences pain from the crash,” Smith said.
“I forgive you,” Smith quoted Beckett as telling Bowerman, who was sentenced to a prison term for the charges he pleaded guilty to. “But you could have taken me away from my children.”
In his plea for forgiveness, Bowerman, who was represented by attorney Albert Sardella of Coatesville, told Beckett, “The thought that I could have killed you will haunt me for the rest of my life.” As part of a plea agreement in the case, Carmody sentenced him to nine to 23 months on charges of recklessly endangering another person, fleeing and eluding, accidents involving injury, and driving under suspension – DUI related. He will also be under supervision on two years probation.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Bryan in the case, the incident occurred around 3:56 p.m. on Nov. 18. When he first tried to pull Bowerman’s car over, he ordered him to pull into a parking lot using his patrol car’s loudspeaker. The car kept going, however, and continued west on Nutt Road at a slow sped.
Bryan signaled the driver with his emergency lights, and Bowerman pulled over. The officer walked over to the car and directed the driver to pull into a bank parking lot, and he agreed to. But when Bryan walked back to his patrol car, the Tahoe sped off at a high rate of speed.
With Bryan in pursuit, the car went through the intersection of Nutt and Kimberton roads, where Bowerman lost control and struck a parked car.
After Bryan took Bowerman into custody, he spotted a woman lying on the ground behind the Tahoe, crying in pain. She said she had been standing on the sidewalk and could not get out of the way of the car in time. Later identified as Beckett, she was taken to Paoli Hospital for her injuries.
When processing the scene, Bryan said he found open beer bottles on the passenger side floor. When Bowerman’s blood-alcohol level was taken, he was found to have a BAC of .02 percent.
In addition to his prison time and probation, Bowerman was ordered to pay Beckett $12,300 in restitution.