UPDATE/FINAL OUTCOME: Route 209/Shaffer’s Schoolhouse Triple Fatal crash – 2018
Stroud Area Regional Police Department
100 Day Street, East Stroudsburg Pa. 18301
Chief of Police: Jennifer Lyon
UPDATE/FINAL OUTCOME: Route 209/Shaffer's Schoolhouse Triple Fatal crash - 2018
RECAP: On Sunday, September 16, 2018, at 9:39 P.M., the Stroud Area Regional Police Department responded to the area of State Route four lane 209 and Shaffer's Schoolhouse Road, Stroud Township, to investigate a report of an accident with entrapment and vehicles on fire. The accident involved 3 vehicles, 2 Ford Mustangs, and a Subaru Forester. As a result of this Accident 3 people died.
INVESTIGATION: An extensive investigation was conducted, which included multiple search warrants, witness interviews, the collection and analysis of physical evidence, and an accident reconstruction determination. The results of the investigation are contained below:
It was determined that two Ford Mustangs entered Route 209 from Interstate 80 west. The vehicles in question were a 2016 Ford Mustang, black in color, which was operated by the Matthew Woodrow Haller, and a 2015 Ford Mustang, white in color, which was operated by Ryan Douglas Smith.
The Mustangs continued south on route 209 and prior to the intersection of 209 and Shafer's Schoolhouse Road the vehicles were traveling at high rates of speed, as they raced one another. Haller was operating his Ford Mustang in the left lane and Smith was operating his Ford Mustang in the right lane of S.R. 209 south.
While traveling in the right lane, Smith came upon a vehicle that was traveling in the right lane of travel directly in front of him. Smith proceeded to pass the vehicle on the right by going on to the shoulder and grassy area off the side of the road. While passing this vehicle at a high speed Smith attempted to reenter the roadway and while doing so he lost control of his vehicle. This loss of control caused Smith's vehicle to cross over the road and into the left lane of travel, colliding with the Mustang driven by Haller. This caused both vehicles to lose control and cross over the small concrete divider and into the northern lanes of 209. Haller's vehicle entered the path of a Subaru Forester that was traveling north on 209 in the right lane of travel. The Subaru Forester was occupied by two males, Chester Bogart Jr and his brother, Ronald C. Bogart. The Haller vehicle collided with the Subaru, causing both vehicles to travel onto the shoulder of 209 until finally stopping. The vehicles then caught on fire with the victims still in their vehicles. Shortly afterward, with all occupants still trapped inside, the fire ignited both vehicles, which became completely engulfed.
SMITH's vehicle continued south in the northern lanes of 209 colliding with the guide rail several times before stopping just south of the 209/Shaffer's School House Road intersection.
Matthew Woodrow Haller, a 20-year-old male from Wind Gap, and driver of the black Mustang were pronounced dead at the scene. Both victims in the Subaru, Chester Bogart JR, a 74-year-old male from East Stroudsburg and Ronald C Bogart, a 68-year-old male from East Stroudsburg were both pronounced deceased at the scene. On Tuesday, September 18, 2018, an autopsy was performed on all three at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Lehigh County, PA. The cause of death was listed as Multiple Blunt Force Trauma directly attributed to the collision which was caused as a result of Matthew Haller and Ryan Smith racing on route 209 and as a direct result of Smith losing control of his vehicle.
SMITH survived the crash and was hospitalized, where he received treatment for his injuries. Subsequent investigation, including an electronic analysis of the Restraints Control Module in the SMITH's vehicle, showed that SMITH was driving at an extremely high rate of speed during this fatal event, and was driving between 144 and 151.8 miles per hour when the two Mustangs first collided.
Information developed through the course of the investigation, including text messages and social media communications from SMITH, showed that SMITH and Haller planned to engage in racing activity on the date of this crash and that SMITH had engaged in such activity on previous occasions.
In choosing to engage in this racing activity on a well-traveled roadway where several other cars were driving, SMITH showed a conscious disregard of the risks involved and demonstrated a sustained attitude of recklessness and disregard for the lives of others.
SMITH caused the death of three people; Chester Bogart Jr., Ronald C. Bogart, and Matthew Woodrow Haller under circumstances, including racing at extremely high speeds upon well-traveled roadways, which show that he knowingly disregarded the most serious risk he was creating, and by disregarding that risk SMITH demonstrated his extreme indifference to the value of human life. Under these circumstances, SMITH acted with malice.
Ryan Douglas Smith, a 22-year-old white male, from Pen Argyl, Pa., was charged with the following:
· Murder of the Third Degree- F1- 3 counts
· Homicide by Vehicle- F3- 3 counts
· Involuntary Manslaughter- M1- 3 counts
· And the following Summary Traffic Violations
§ Disregard Traffic Lanes
§ Overtaking a Vehicle on the right
§ Driving on the Right Side of a Roadway
§ Careless Driving
§ Careless Driving/ Unintentional Death- 3 counts
§ Reckless Driving
§ Driving Vehicle at Safe Speed
§ Racing on Highways
Smith was arrested on Wednesday, July 1st, 2020, video arraigned, and was placed in the Monroe County Correctional Facility on $500,000.00 bail. His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for July 17th, 2020.