Man sentenced for drunkenly crashing car into home, killing woman as she slept

Jim Melwert
December 14, 2018 - 1:50 pm
Joseph Bezanis

Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A Montgomery County man who drove off the road and crashed into a home in Franconia Township will spend the next four to eight years in prison.

In the early morning hours or April 6, Joseph Bezanis was on Harleysville Pike near Telford Pike when he went off the road and through several yards. Investigators say there were no signs of Bezanis braking or steering, going more than 500 feet before crashing into a home.

"And he essentially catapults into the house, 21 feet in the air," explained prosecutor Samantha Thompson. 

The car slammed into a bedroom, killing 82-year-old Marianne Lambert while she was sleeping.

RELATED: Man arrested for allegedly killing woman inside home he crashed his car into

Bezanis had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit, and the judge pointed out that he had been arrested the week before the crash, charged with possession of marijuana.

"He noted that should have been a wake-up call to straighten up his life," Thompson reiterated of the judge.

The mandatory minimum sentence for homicide by vehicle DUI is three to six years in prison, but Thompson said the judge’s four- to eight-year sentence took several factors into account, including the prior arrest.

Lambert’s husband testified at the sentencing, saying he had fallen asleep in a recliner watching TV, or else he would have been in the bed with Marianne. 

"He woke up and the first thing he thought was to check on her and make sure everything was OK with her and that she wasn't startled," said Thompson. "And he and other family members couldn't even get into the bedroom because the car was just fully inside that room."

Thompson said other family members testified how the crash has affected her husband. The couple were teenage sweethearts, married more than 60 years.