The Pike Township man accused of killing Bill Bender was arraigned Thursday morning in Red Hill. District Judge Maureen Coggins set bail in the case against
Steven Bernard Rokita, left, walking into District Court
with his attorney, Matthew Randazzo on Thurday
Steven Bernard Rokita, 50, at $100,000 monetary.
However, Rokita won't be permitted to leave jail until a Berks County parole detainer is removed even if he posts that amount, according to Coggins.
Rokita, accused of causing the accident that led to Bender's death on Route 663 in Upper Hanover on July 23 and fleeing the scene, turned himself in before appearing for the 22-minute hearing, which included several members of Bender's family and friends in the audience.
He left in the custody of two uniformed state troopers to be processed, then detained at the Montgomery County jail, according Trooper Brad Furlong, the arresting officer.
The defendant faces second and third-degree felony counts of accidents involving death or personal injury and accident where the victim dies, one misdemeanor for drug paraphernalia and seven summary offenses that include attempting to pass on the right, follow too closely, failure to drive at a safe speed, careless driving, failure to stop and provide his information or render aid, failure to notify police and giving false information to authorities, according to police criminal complaint filed at the court.
Rokita could face a maximum sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison if convicted of the second-degree felony and 3 ½ to seven years on the third-degree felony, according to Coggins.
A preliminary hearing in the case before the same judge has been scheduled for ...
UPDATED SEPT. 19 - 5:10 P.M.
Charges have been filed against a District Township man in the death of an East Greenville man in a July crash on Route 663, in Upper Hanover Township.
Steven Bernard Rokita, 50, faces two felony counts related to the death of Bill Bender, a drug charge and seven summary offenses from the July 23 incident.
The state police and the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office filed the charges Tuesday afternoon in the Red Hill court of District Judge Maureen Coggins. Rokita is charged with two counts of accidents involving death or personal injury and accident where the victim dies, both second degree felonies, along with one misdemeanor for drug paraphernalia.
The summary offenses include attempting to pass on the right, follow too closely, failure to drive at a safe speed, careless driving, failure to stop and provide his information or render aid, failure to notify police and giving false information to authorities, according to information posted on a state judicial website.
Bender, 38, who died in the three-vehicle accident, was driving south on Route 663 towards Pennsburg when his 2004 black Honda Civic was hit from behind by an unknown vehicle immediately before Northgate Boulevard.
The Civic, which was propelled into the opposing lane of traffic, was then struck on the passenger side by a 2003 gold Buick LeSabre driven by Edward Kabakjian, 84, of Pennsburg. Kabakjian was transported from the scene with "moderate injuries" according to law enforcement officials.
Bender, the father of four and known as a talented mechanic, died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, which occurred at 4:43 p.m.
The striking vehicle, described as orange/brown or faded red, fled the scene and was last seen traveling south on Route 663 towards Pennsburg, according to a news release from the state police's Skippack barracks. An investigation determined that the fleeing vehicle was identified as a red Ford Fusion, according to information disseminated Tuesday afternoon.
Rokita has had several recent brushes with the law. In ...