Arrest 'a relief' for son of Rostraver hit-and-run victim
The family of a well-known Rostraver gun shop owner critically injured in a hit-and-run accident expressed relief Monday at the arrest of a township man allegedly behind the wheel.
Byron White, 74, was struck by a vehicle in his driveway along Route 136 early on the evening of Nov. 6.
Township police said Don Charles Eichler, 53, of Salem Church Road, was arraigned before West Newton Judge Charles Christner on charges of accidents involving death or personal injury and several motor vehicle charges.
The accident occurred near White's business, The Gun Rack, which he opened in 1985.
White is paralyzed on his left side because of a series of strokes more than a decade ago, and he uses a wheelchair. He was leaving the shop to head to his nearby home when he was struck.
White remained in critical condition at UPMC Mercy in Pittsburgh on Monday, a spokeswoman said.
Michael Sorg said White, his stepfather, raised him since the age of 8.
“It's a relief that (Eichler) is in (jail). ... It does not make the whole situation any better. We are glad they caught him, and he is not out and about, doing any more harm,” Sorg said.
“It does not matter whether my dad was in the middle of the road or in the yard, this guy ran him over and never stopped,” he said.
“My dad, he's in pretty bad shape. If he makes it back to what he has been doing, that will take a lot of prayers. (Tuesday) is a big day. He is going to have surgery. Keep your prayers and thoughts with us. Hopefully, if the surgery goes OK, he has a chance of getting back in his (wheelchair) again,” Sorg said.
“It's been an emotional roller coaster the last couple of weeks. He was not in the best shape to begin with,” he said.
An affidavit of probable cause filed with Christner by Rostraver police Officer Stephen Sholtis noted that parts of the hit-and-run vehicle found at the scene were from a black Nissan Titan. A truck fitting that description, with heavy passenger side damage consistent to the accident, was found at Eichler's address, police said.
Eichler admitted to driving the pickup truck involved in the accident, according to police.
“(Eichler) stated that he thought he hit a deer,” the criminal complaint stated.
The vehicle's registration expired in August 2011, and its inspection expired in September 2010. Police said Eichler could not provide a valid insurance card, and his policy had been canceled.
Christner issued an arrest warrant for Eichler, who was taken into custody without incident at his home.
He was placed in the Westmoreland County jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.
He faces a preliminary hearing before Christner on Nov. 26.
Police said the investigation is ongoing, and additional charges against Eichler are expected.
Common Pleas Judge Debra A. Pezze also issued a bench warrant for Eichler for failure to appear on a prior driving under the influence arrest that occurred in Rostraver on March 20, police said.
Eichler also was charged with public drunkenness on Nov. 13, one week after the accident involving White, after police received a report of a man stumbling while attempting to walk along Route 136 near The Gun Rack.
White's friends and family have stepped up to keep his shop open while he recovers, Sorg said.
White enjoys playing “Pap” to Sorg's 2-year-old daughter, Emmy, he said.
“They get her every Friday or Saturday. Every Tuesday, he calls and says, ‘When are we getting her?'” Sorg said.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- National Weather Service predicts up to 7 inches of snow before Sunday night
- Steelers not limiting themselves in free agency
- Rossi: Pirates must pay for Mr. Right
- Under Rutherford, it’s been a sizeable shakeup for Penguins
- Coyotes proliferate despite year-round hunting
- Burnett’s farewell tour wishlist has just 1 item: Pirates World Series
- Winnik impresses Penguins in first workout
- Arrogant media elites mock Middle America
- Police investigating shooting at Strip District club
- Baby Penguins notebook: Goalie Murray on historic run of success
- Big names become available this week via free agency; will Steelers be tempted?