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Breinigsville man charged in fatal crash

Lehigh County District Attorney Gavin P. Holihan announced on May 6 that a man charged in a 2021 fatal crash in Upper Macungie has pleaded guilty.

According to Holihan, John Frederick Fifield, 21, of Breinigsville, pleaded guilty to charges of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, both felonies of the second degree; four counts each of recklessly endangering another person, misdemeanors of the second degree; and driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, schedule 1; a misdemeanor.

Fifield, who entered the guilty plea before Judge Anna-Kristie M. Marks, is scheduled for sentencing 9:30 a.m. July 5.

According to Holihan, around 6:26 p.m. Dec. 19, 2021, Upper Macungie Township Police were called to a three-vehicle crash with injuries at the intersection of Hickory Lane and Snowdrift Road.

Fifield was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee westbound on Hickory Lane when his Jeep struck a vehicle traveling southbound on Snowdrift Road in the middle of the intersection.

A third vehicle was also struck.

The driver of the second vehicle, Benjamin Bleiler, was pronounced dead at the scene.

His death was due to blunt force injuries due to the crash and his death was ruled accidental by the Lehigh County Coroner.

A passenger in Bleiler’s vehicle, Erin Bleiler, suffered serious injuries in the crash including multiple fractures to her spine, face and ribs.

Two children were also inside the vehicle at the time, but were not physically injured.

An investigation determined that just before the crash, Fifield’s vehicle was traveling in excess of 80 mph.

The speed limit on that section of the road where the crash occurred is 55 mph.

At the time of the crash, Fifield’s blood tests showed the presence of THC, an active ingredient in marijuana.

The case was investigated by Upper Macungie Police Officer Joshua R. Forrester and Chief Deputy District Attorney V. Paul Bernardino III.