Cars, Deaths, Drinking, Midsize Firms / Regional Firms

Associate Killed in Dramatic Drunken Car Crash

Last night, a dramatic scene unfolded in the parking lot of a movie theater. A suspected drunk driver allegedly took off without his headlights on, hit two police cruisers, terrified several witnesses, and then slammed his car into a tree. The driver was killed.

“It was coming straight towards us and I didn’t know if he was going to stop or what he was doing,” said one witness. “He was going 70, 80 miles an hour. It was scary.”

The driver of the vehicle was a young lawyer, an associate at a law firm. He graduated not too long ago from a leading law school….

The events took place in McCandless, Pennsylvania, a town outside Pittsburgh. From CBS News:

[E]mployees at the [J. Clark’s restaurant in McCandless] reported that they had called for a taxi for the person because they had allegedly been drinking; however, the person reportedly refused to take the cab and got into their own vehicle, taking off with no headlights. That’s when the employees reportedly called 911.

Officials say the car crossed McKnight Road and reportedly struck two police cruisers before going through the parking lot of the theater, and then slamming into the tree….

The victim has been identified as 32-year-old Benjamin Bibler. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Benjamin R. Bibler

A report by WPXI adds that Bibler argued with several employees at J. Clark’s before leaving the establishment.

According to his LinkedIn profile (reprinted in full on the next page), Benjamin Bibler was an associate at Weltman, Weinberg & Reis, a debt collection law firm that represents creditors. It appears that he might have worked at K&L Gates (known at the time as Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham).

UPDATE (2/29/12): A friend of Bibler’s informed us that he never worked at K&L Gates (even though he apparently played on their Corporate Monopoly team). According to this source, Bibler was “a quiet guy who worked the same job since graduation.”

Bibler graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2004, again according to his LinkedIn bio. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington and Jefferson College in 2001.

UPDATE (8 PM): A source advised us that Bibler attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, not U. Penn., at least for his first year of law school: “I was in his 1L small section [at Pitt Law]. He was a great guy.” When we pointed out that Bibler’s LinkedIn profile mentions Penn Law, this source responded, “I’m pretty sure he was [at Pitt] all three years, but I don’t recall. Maybe he got an LLM from Penn?”

UPDATE (2/29/12): Another reader directed us to Bibler’s Martindale-Hubbell entry, which states that he received his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. A law school classmate of his, who confirmed this information, told us: “I wonder if his Linkedin was doctored…. [Bibler was] not the type to lie on his resume.” (My guess: Bibler might have mistyped when filling out his LinkedIn profile. The school field has an “auto-suggest” feature, and because Penn and Pitt are next to each other alphabetically, one slip of the finger could result in entry of the wrong information.)

(This Ben Bibler — Benjamin R. Bibler of Pennsylvania, according to his Avvo profile — is not to be confused with Benjamin J. Bibler of New York, a recent NYU Law grad who currently works at Davis Polk.)

Needless to say, it’s a deeply sad situation. As we all know, drinking can be great fun, and it can even help you professionally — but it must be done responsibly, and not to excess. If you have a drinking problem, please know that there are resources out there to help you.

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Benjamin Bibler.

(Links to additional coverage and Benjamin Bibler’s LinkedIn profile appear on the next page.)