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DA: Arrested driver willfully ran down Levittown man in McDonald’s parking lot

Matt Weintraub speaks out on road rage — “Just keep driving.”


A New Jersey man is facing homicide charges for intentionally running over another man in the parking lot of the Bristol Township McDonald’s last month, said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub at a Monday press conference.

Daniel Stephen Dietrich, 45, was driving with a suspended license when he hit Jason Smith, 47, of Levittown, with his Chevy Silverado pickup truck, knocking him to the ground, the DA said. Dietrich then continued turning into Smith, running over him with both the front and rear driver’s side wheels of his truck, surveillance video showed, Weintraub said.

He was still alive at the scene but died later in the hospital of blunt force trauma to his chest and torso, said the DA.

Dietrich left the parking lot on Bristol Pike and drove down Route 13 toward Tullytown, said officials.

The Feb. 5 deadly encounter began before the men reached the restaurant, according to authorities, when Dietrich cut Smith off and the men had a “verbal altercation” that escalated when they pulled into the parking lot.

After Smith pulled his Nissan into the lot from Haines Road, Dietrich pulled his truck along the right side of Smith’s car and stopped in the entrance, blocking it.

Video shows Smith got out of his car, opened his trunk and got a hammer. He approached the front of Dietrich’s truck and Dietrich drove toward him, making a “hard turn” into Smith.

Weintraub said Smith’s death was not the result of self-defense. “The defendant could have retreated, he had a clear exit. He could have driven to the right and out of the parking spot to avoid striking and running over Smith and avoided “this terrible, tragic incident.”

The district attorney lamented the needless loss of life, saying the men “were working men…it seems they had a lot in common. Under different circumstances they might have been friends.”

Dietrich had choices, he could have “called 911, or driven away or gone into McDonald’s,” said Weintraub. “He exercised the only one that was deadly.”

Decrying acts of road rage, the DA said, “we live according to a social compact…we must have thicker skin, just keep driving.”

Dietrich voluntarily turned himself in and is being held without bail in the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

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