Driving under influence blamed for fatal crash

 Coatesville man, 22, faces multiple charges in passenger’s death

James P. Wilkins IV is accused of driving under the influence and causing an accident that killed one of his two passengers, Claude Norris, 22.

James P. Wilkins IV is accused of driving under the influence and causing an accident that killed one of his two passengers, Claude Norris, 22, on New Year’s Day.

A 22-year-old Coatesville man was driving under the influence of alcohol and a controlled substance on New Year’s Day when he crashed his vehicle – a collision that claimed the life of Claude “L.C” Norris III, 22, of Coatesville, police said Thursday.

West Goshen Township Police said James P. Wilkins IV was traveling south on Rt. 202 near Rt. 100 when the crash occurred. Norris, a rear-seat passenger in the vehicle, was ejected, police said.

Wilkins faces charges that include homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, involuntary manslaughter, and related offenses.

 According to his obituary, Norris, the son of Claude Norris Jr. and Desiree Johnson Norris, was a 2009 graduate of Coatesville Area Senior High who was attending West Chester University. A four-year employee of the Wal-Mart in Exton, he enjoyed playing football, lifting weights and making people laugh.

Court records show that in addition to a couple of speeding tickets, Wilkins has prior convictions for retail theft and disorderly conduct. He was released from Chester County Prison after posting a bond for 10 percent of $50,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 19 before Magisterial District Judge William D. Kraut.

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Tags: Claude “L.C” Norris III, coatesville, driving under the influence, James P. Wilkins IV, West Goshen Township Police

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