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Charges filed in fiery crash that killed motorcyclist

Published On: Jun 26 2014 06:18:29 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 26 2014 06:28:57 PM EDT

A man has been charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence in connection with a fiery crash in Douglass Township, Montgomery County.


Dante Rau has been charged with homicide by vehicle while under the influence of drugs for the May 3 crash that killed a motorcyclist in Montgomery County.

Responding to an accident at Route 100 and Rick Road, Douglass Township police found Rau's 2000 Honda Civic on top of a motorcycle and rider.

Both the vehicles and the man who has been riding the motorcycle were on fire.


The township fire department extinguished the flames but the victim, identified as 37-year-old Robert Gatchel of Pottstown,  was declared dead on the scene.

Police determined Gatchel had been going north on Route 100 when his motorcycle was struck from behind by Rau's vehicle.

Gatchel was knocked down. Rau then drove over him and the motorcycle became wedged under the car, according to police.

Rau dragged Gatchel for narly 750 feet before stopping. The car, motorcycle and victim caught fire.

Gatchel was killed by his injuries and the fire.

Rau was able to get out of the car and was not injured. A blood sample taken from the defendant revealed the presence of Fentanyl and marijuana.

After being arraigned, Rau's bail was set at $20,000.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. July 14 before Magisterial District Judge Maurice H. Saylor.

Rau's arrest was announced Thursday by Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Douglass Township Police Chief Barry L. Templin, Jr.

Rau's age and home address were not included in a news release from the district attorney's office.