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Pottstown man charged in February Upper Providence crash that killed 2

Two passengers were killed in rollover crash.

MediaNews Group File Photo

NORRISTOWN –– A 22-year-old Pottstown man was arrested this week and charged with homicide by vehicle in the deaths of two passengers in the vehicle he was driving in a Feb. 12 crash in Upper Providence Township.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Upper Providence Township Police Chief Mark Freeman, Lower Providence Township Police Chief Michael Jackson and Limerick Township Police Chief Robert J. Matalavage announced the arrest of Khaliym Smith on two counts of homicide by vehicle for the crash that killed Maya Garner, 22, and GIvonah “Gigi” Mitchell, 23, both of Philadelphia.

Khaliym Smith (Photo courtesy Montgomery County DA)
Khaliym Smith (Photo courtesy Montgomery County DA)

The single-vehicle crash happened at approximately 2:32 a.m., Feb. 12, 2023, at Route 422 and South Collegeville Road in the Collegeville section of Upper Providence Township, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office.

Upper Providence Township Police and the Pennsylvania State Police arrived on the scene to find a 2021 gray Jeep Wrangler on its roof, resting in a grassy area adjacent to the roadway. Garner was found deceased a short distance from the vehicle and near her was Mitchell, who was given immediate life-saving treatment and then transported by helicopter to Penn Presbyterian, where she later died from injuries sustained in the crash, the release stated.

The Jeep’s driver, Khaliym Smith, his sister and another male were found outside of the vehicle and were conscious but in critical condition. They were transported by ambulance to Paoli Hospital for treatment of their injuries. Smith’s blood was taken and revealed the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, according to the release.

Police on the scene also found a loaded black “ghost gun” with an extended magazine lying next to the Jeep and a black backpack that contained marijuana, a digital scale and a wallet containing Smith’s driver’s license and credit cards, the release stated.

DNA evidence was collected from the driver’s headrest, steering wheel airbag and the steering wheel as well as from the ghost gun. The DNA swabs were sent to the Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab for analysis. Results recently came back finding that the DNA on the gun and in the driver’s area of the vehicle matched Smith’s DNA, according to the release.

A crash investigation by members of the Montgomery County Regional Crash Investigation Unit found that Smith was driving his Jeep Wrangler westbound on State Route 422, which has a posted speed limit of 55 mph when it left the roadway between the travel lanes and the off-ramp to South Collegeville Road.

The vehicle traveled through the grass median to the roadway below, beginning to rotate counterclockwise just before reaching South Collegeville Road. As a result of transferring from soft grass to asphalt, the vehicle rolled over and slid on its roof across South Collegeville Road, then struck a concrete Jersey barrier before rolling over again and ejecting the driver and passengers from the vehicle, the release stated.

A post-crash inspection of the vehicle found no mechanical issues with the Jeep. The vehicle’s Event Data Recorder, commonly called a “black box,” showed that five seconds before the crash until the airbags deployed, the Jeep was traveling at 81 mph in a posted 55-mph zone, and that the accelerator was being pressed at 100 percent with no evidence of the driver pressing the brake pedal.

The vehicle’s safety system recognized the vehicle was out of control and automatically reduced the amount of engine throttle and applied brake intervention in an attempt to counter the driver’s aggressive steering input and 100 percent acceleration, the release stated.

Smith turned himself in to Upper Providence police on Dec. 22 and was charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle while DUI,  two counts of recklessly endangering another person, firearms not to be carried without a license, possession of marijuana, careless driving, reckless driving, speeding and related charges.

He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Margaret A. Hunsicker, who set bail at $100,000 unsecured, with a condition of no driving. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Feb. 6, 2024, before Magisterial District Judge Richard H. Welsh.

This case will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Meghan Carney.