WEST CHESTER >> A Unionville High School graduate will have a somber Thanksgiving weekend, as he prepares himself for a new challenge that will last more than three years: living in state prison.
On Monday, Allen Michael Medina-Barajas of Pocopson will arrive at the Chester County Justice Center for formal sentencing on the charge of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, a charge stemming from an August 2014 crash that killed a popular young Kennett man who was bicycling to work.
Before Common Pleas Judge Patrick Carmody on Tuesday, Medina-Barajas pleaded guilty to that charge and a separate charge of DUI. According to the terms of a plea agreement worked out between Deputy District Attorney Thomas Ost-Prisco and Media-Barajas’ attorney, Kevin Michael O’Neill of Media, he will be sentenced to 3 /12 to seven years in state prison for both charges.
But Ost-Prisco explained to Carmody that because the plea agreement had come together at the last minute — Medina-Barajas had been scheduled to go to trial on the charge on Monday — the mother of the victim, Joseff Teitsort-Birog, had not had time to put her thoughts together for what she wanted to say to Carmody.
Carmody asked Cindy Teitsort, who was seated in the courtroom, if she would like to come back at a later date and speak. “If possible, yes,” Teitsort said. Carmody granted the delay, but warned Media-Barajas to be prepared not only to go to prison on Monday to begin serving his sentence, but also to address the victim’s mother.
“It’s time to go to jail,” Carmody told the defendant, a 22-year-old dressed in a modest black suit.“You could have fought this case, but you accepted responsibility for your actions. I want you to say something to Ms. Teitsort at sentencing. The victim was the same age as you. Imagine your own life being taken away.
“All the things that you want to do in your life, he can’t do,” Carmody said. “So spend some time with your family before you go to prison on Monday.”
“I appreciate that, sir,” Medina-Barajas said.
According to the facts of the case as laid out by Ost-Prisco, on Aug. 23, 2014, Medina-Barajas left work about 5 p.m. and met up with friends. The crew bought two cases of beer and began drinking, using a designated driver to take them to and from an auction in Lancaster County. The group returned to the Unionville area around 10:45 and split up at the Landhope Farms convenience store on Route 82.
Ost-Prisco said that at trial, witnesses would say that when they saw Medina-Barajas climb behind the wheel of his 2004 Jeep, he appeared “significantly intoxicated.”
At 11:45 p.m., 24-year-old Teitsort-Birog was on his blue Mongoose bicycle traveling east on Route 926 in East Marlborough towards the Northbrook Orchards Marketplace store, where he had worked for about six years and become a familiar face there -- “one of the family” as a co-worker described him. Media-Barajas struck him from behind, and knocked him and his bicycle off the road. He was killed instantly.
Instead of stopping, Medina-Barajas drove to the nearby home of one of the group he had just spend the evening with. There, he told the friend about the accident. The friend eventually called police, and state troopers responded to the house about 2:30 a.m. the following day.
Medina-Barajas was taken into custody and had blood drawn at a hospital for testing. It showed that at 3 a.m., his blood alcohol count (BAC) was .113 percent, well over the legal limit for DUI. Ost-Prisco said an expert would have testified at trial that when the crash occurred, Medina-Barajas’ BAC would have nee “significantly higher.”
Homicide by vehicle is punishable by a maximum 10 year sentence. Media-Barajas, who had studied finance at the University of Texas, has no prior criminal record.
To contact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.