Delaware business owner charged with homicide in fatal January crash
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Delaware business owner charged with homicide in fatal January crash

Jan 10, 2024

A prominent Delaware business owner has been charged in connection with a late January crash in North Star that killed one man and injured two others.

A New Castle County grand jury indicted Walter "Reds" Ferris on Monday on four charges, including criminally negligent homicide and vehicular homicide, in connection with the Jan. 29 off-road vehicle crash. Jack Birch, 47, was killed in the wreck.

According to New Castle County police, officers were called to the 1000 block of Corner Ketch Road just before 10 p.m. for reports of the crash. There, they found a utility task vehicle overturned.

UTVs, also known as side-by-sides, are larger than all-terrain vehicles and can hold more people.

BACKGROUND:Police identify man killed after off-road vehicle flips at Delaware home, ejects passengers

Police were told that Ferris was driving the UTV on the property when it flipped, though it remains unclear how the crash occurred. Five people were in the vehicle at the time and several were ejected, police said.

While Birch died at the scene, a 47-year-old man and a 40-year-old man were also taken to a nearby hospital with "minor injuries," police said at the time. A day later, officers could still be seen at the crash site investigating.

The indictment doesn't offer many details about the crash, but it does say that alcohol was a factor. The Philadelphia Eagles had won their NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers that day.

A photo on Ferris' now-deleted Instagram shows Ferris had been tailgating at the game, and a comment indicates there was an after party that night. The man who took the photo appears to be Birch, who is described in an obituary as "as reliable and loyal as they come, and the 'go-to guy' to provide advice and support for any question or task at hand."

"To know Jack was to love him and he loved you right back," the obituary says. "His smile could light the room, his laugh was contagious, and his hugs felt like home."

The two DUI charges − operating an off-highway vehicle under the influence and driving a vehicle under the influence − are misdemeanors, while the homicide charges are felonies.

Ferris, who is the owner of Ferris Home Improvements based in Ogletown, was arrested Wednesday and later posted $85,000 bail, according to court records.

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