UPDATED: Criminal charges filed in I-81 crash

Criminal charges filed today against a Mechanicsburg man involved in a tragic crash that took the lives of two foster children in August include 3rd degree murder and homicide by vehicle while DUI.

Gregory A. Nornhold, 36, was northbound on I-81 in an SUV at 3:39 p.m. August 3 when he crossed the median at mile marker 54.7 in Cumberland County and hit a truck in the southbound lane.

READ: PSP: Two children killed in I-81 crash

Pennsylvania State Police claim a blood test at the hospital after the crash showed marijuana (THC) in his system. He was transporting four children at the time. Two little girls, 2- and 4-years old, died at the crash scene; and 6- and 8-year-old boys were seriously injured. Three of the children were Nornhold’s foster children. The fourth was his niece.

Nornhold was treated at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill for injuries he suffered in the crash. He was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, police said. The crash also injured the drivers and two passengers in a southbound truck and car.

Police said an investigation showed Nornhold didn’t attempt to brake as the vehicle crossed the grassy median and collided with the truck.

According to the original August police report, Jason L. Flenner, 43, Carlisle, was southbound in a Ford truck when Nornhold’s SUV crossed the median into his path. The impact caused the truck to rotate and hit a Ford Focus driven by Keith Bannister, 48, of Harrisburg.

Crash reconstruction

Investigators used data recorders from all three vehicles to reconstruct the crash. They said the data downloaded from Nornhold’s SUV showed it took the vehicle only three seconds to travel over 200 feet across the median and two sets of rumble strips into the southbound lanes. It indicated that during that time Nornhold made no attempt to brake or otherwise interact with the SUV.

Police obtained a search warrant for Nornhold’s SUV during their investigation. They allege they found multiple vape pens, full and empty THC cartridges, and empty packaging in the center console of the vehicle.

Magisterial District Judge Michael Sanderson set Nornhold’s bail at $100,000 during a preliminary arraignment today. As of Thursday, he had not posted it and remained in Cumberland County Prison.

Sanderson set the preliminary hearing in the case for 1 p.m. Dec. 16.

The criminal charges

  • Murder Of The Third Degree, two counts, 1st degree felonies
  • Aggravated Assault – Attempts to cause Serious Bodily Injury or causes injury with extreme indifference, five counts, 1st degree felonies
  • Agg. Assault – Attempts to cause or causes Bodily Injury with deadly weapon, 2nd degree felony, five counts, 2nd degree felony
  • Aggravated Assault By Vehicle While DUI, five counts, 2nd degree felony
  • Homicide By Vehicle, two counts, third degree felony
  • Aggravated assault by vehicle, five counts, 3rd degree felony
  • Involuntary manslaughter, two counts, 2nd degree felonies
  • Endangering the welfare of children by a parent/guardian/other, four counts, 2nd degree felony
  • 20 misdemeanors, including DUI; simple assault; recklessly endangering another person
  • 12 summary traffic offenses

NOTE: The original story published Thursday, based on a PSP news release, indicated all four children were in foster care. It also incorrectly said Nornhold’s SUV hit both the truck and car. Police allege his actions in crossing the median into opposing traffic was responsible for both collisions and injury to drivers and passengers in the other two vehicles.

READ: PSP: Woman charged with attempted homicide