By Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

EASTON, Pa. (AP) - A tractor-trailer driver sentenced to prison in a fiery fatal crash on Interstate 78 in northeastern Pennsylvania is asking a judge to allow him to withdraw his plea, citing medication he was taking.

Fifty-six-year-old Robert Gawne Sr. of Allentown pleaded no contest in Northampton County in March to vehicular homicide and other counts and was sentenced to 4½ to nine years.

Gawne says a mixture of peach schnapps, codeine and anti-anxiety drugs prevented him from fully understanding the consequences of the plea. Judge Michael Koury expressed deep skepticism last week, saying Gawne “seemed perfectly fine” to him.

Prosecutors said Gawne’s truck struck a car that had stopped at a toll booth near the New Jersey line in Williams Township in January 2014, killing 65-year-old Daniel Murphy of Hackettstown, New Jersey.

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