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Driver in crash that killed Hatboro-Horsham grads Coombs, Nagel pleads guilty; gets 4 to 8 years

Thursday, 21st June 2012

Categories Boy's/Men's, Posted 6/21/12
Staff Report

A Horsham man has been given a 4-to-8 year prison sentence after pleading guilty to speeding and driving drunk last August in a one-car crash that killed his friends and former Hatboro-Horsham lacrosse players Edward Coombs and Robert Nagel.

The plea by James McNicholas, 20, was accepted by Judge William J. Furber Jr. in Montgomery County Court last week in front of many relatives and friends of the victims.

Coombs, 19, of Horsham, and Nagel, of Ambler, had helped lead Hatboro-Horsham to a conference championship and a berth in the state playoffs in 2010. Coombs then played as a freshman at Marist in 2011.

Last week Coombs’ memory was honored in a banquet at Williamson’s in Horsham where seven of his former club teammates from Rebel Elite were named as winners of the Edwards Coombs Memorial Scholarship.

McNicholas, now 20, pleaded guilty to charges of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol, homicide by vehicle, DUI, recklessly endangering other persons and speeding. Two other passengers in the crash were not seriously injured.

According to testimony, McNicholas was traveling 97 mph in an area posted for 35 mph. His blood-alcohol level was 0.117 percent, which is more than five times the legal limit of 0.02 percent for persons under 21. The legal blood-alcohol content for adult drivers is 0.08 percent.

Authorities have alleged that the five teens had attended a party at which alcohol was consumed.


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