Police: Driver in crash was under influence

An im­paired driver tested pos­it­ive for five il­li­cit and pre­scrip­tion drugs soon after he caused a crash that claimed the lives of two oth­er mo­tor­ists on a Castor Gar­dens street Nov. 13, au­thor­it­ies claim.

Robert Bren­z­enger, 33, of the 3100 block of Knorr St., has been ordered to stand tri­al for in­vol­un­tary man­slaughter, hom­icide by vehicle while DUI and oth­er of­fenses.

As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney John Doyle called two eye­wit­nesses to the stand dur­ing last Wed­nes­day’s pre­lim­in­ary hear­ing. One man said he was walk­ing east­bound on St. Vin­cent Street ap­proach­ing Bustleton Av­en­ue at about 12:20 a.m. when he heard a roar­ing en­gine and saw a sport-util­ity vehicle speed past him at 50 to 60 mph in­to the in­ter­sec­tion. 

The traffic light was red, but the SUV didn’t stop or even slow down be­fore col­lid­ing with a sedan that was trav­el­ing south­bound on Bustleton, said  the wit­ness, who iden­ti­fied Bren­z­enger as the driver of the 2001 GMC Yukon.

Two vic­tims oc­cu­pied the oth­er vehicle, a 2009 Honda Ac­cord. Li­ang Pan, 35, of the 2100 block of Un­ruh Ave., and Zhuoru Chin, 58, of the 6700 block of Ak­ron St., were pro­nounced dead at the scene.

A second eye­wit­ness, an off-duty para­med­ic, test­i­fied that he was driv­ing his car south­bound on Bustleton im­me­di­ately be­hind the vic­tims’ car and that the Honda had a green light for the in­ter­sec­tion. After strik­ing the Honda, Bren­z­enger’s vehicle col­lided with the car of an off-duty Phil­adelphia po­lice lieu­ten­ant, who was hos­pit­al­ized briefly for treat­ment of minor in­jur­ies.

Bren­z­enger ad­mit­ted to po­lice that he was driv­ing the GMC, Doyle said. Two hours after the crash, he tested pos­it­ive for co­caine, marijuana, and heroin or morphine, as well as the pre­scrip­tion anxi­ety drug Al­prazolam and the sleep­ing drug Zolpidem.

Bren­z­enger is also charged with hom­icide by vehicle, driv­ing while un­der the in­flu­ence, simple as­sault and reck­less en­dan­ger­ment. 

He re­mains in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail and is sched­uled for a Dec. 19 ar­raign­ment in Com­mon Pleas Court. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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