Man charged in deadly Route 56 crash

Local News

Police charged Robert Brookins, 44, in connection to a deadly car crash on Route 56 that happened in July.

Police said Brookins was driving east along the westbound lanes of Route 56 on July 23 just before 1:30 a.m.

That’s when he allegedly hit another car head-on, killing that driver. 31 year-old Joseph Surgent.

Police said Brookins’ 3-year-old daughter was in his car at the time of the crash. Both she and Brookins were treated at Conemaugh Hospital. 

Brookins is facing homicide by vehicle, DUI and child endangerment charges.

Richland Township police said it took several months to file the charges because of the lengthy investigation into the crash.

Investigators said Brookins was drunk by more than twice the legal limit and had marijuana in his sytem.

“It made Mr. Brookins unaware of his surroundings, unaware of where he was actually driving. He totally believed he was on the right side of the road and he got on the Walters Avenue exit and the accident happened after he got back on. And that is simply just not the case,” said Detective Thomas Keirn from the Richland Twp. Police Department.

Brookins is at the Cambria County Prison. His preliminary hearing is set for November 9.

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