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Rostraver hit-run victim continues to battle for survival

| Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A Rostraver gun shop owner continues to fight for his life after he was hit by a pickup truck, said his stepson.

Byron White, 74, had surgery last week to repair a broken hip and nearly died Saturday, said Michael Sorg.

“He was coherent and he said he wanted to fight,” Sorg said Monday. “He said he's going to do it for his grandbabies.

“We're hoping and praying,” he said.

White was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident along Route 136 on Nov. 6, when he was hit by a pickup truck.

White, who suffered a series of strokes a decade ago, was rammed as he was leaving his business in his wheelchair, heading to his nearby home.

A preliminary hearing was rescheduled from Monday to Dec. 17 for a Rostraver man who police said struck White near The Gun Rack.

Additional charges against Donald Charles Eichler, 53, could be filed this week, Assistant District Attorney Allen Powanda told District Judge Charles Christner.

Defense attorney Christopher Huffman told Christner he would prefer to handle all charges against Eichler at one time.

Eichler is charged with accidents involving death or personal injury and several motor vehicle offenses.

Rostraver police Officer Stephen Sholtis noted in an affidavit that parts of the hit-and-run vehicle found at the scene came from a black Nissan Titan.

A truck fitting that description, with heavy passenger-side damage consistent with the accident, was found at Eichler's Salem Church Road address, police said.

Eichler admitted to driving the pickup truck that struck White and drove away, according to police.

“(Eichler) stated that he thought he hit a deer,” the criminal complaint said.

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; his policy had been canceled.

Christner issued a warrant for Eichler, who was taken into custody without incident at his home. He is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Westmoreland County Judge Debra A. Pezze issued a bench warrant for Eichler for failure to appear on a driving under the influence arrest on March 20 in Rostraver, police said.

In addition, Eichler 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, police said.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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