ShareThis Page

Ligonier Township 17-year-old dies in crash on birthday after deer runs in front of car

| Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, 7:33 a.m.
Friends, family and other community members gather to pay their respects at a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Friends, family and other community members gather to pay their respects at a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Larry Neiderhiser, center, speaks to friends, family and other community members gathered at a vigil for his younger brother Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Larry Neiderhiser, center, speaks to friends, family and other community members gathered at a vigil for his younger brother Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
WPXI
Nicholas Neiderhiser of Ligonier (second from left) died when his vehicle crashed on Route 711 in Ligonier Township on Oct. 3, 2017.
Submitted
Nicholas Neiderhiser of Ligonier (second from left) died when his vehicle crashed on Route 711 in Ligonier Township on Oct. 3, 2017.
Tyler Neiderhiser
SUBMITTED
Tyler Neiderhiser
Birthday balloons are tied near an open microphone for thoughts and prayers at a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Birthday balloons are tied near an open microphone for thoughts and prayers at a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017.
Friends, family and other community members gather to pay their respects at a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Friends, family and other community members gather to pay their respects at a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017.
Friends, family and other community members gather to pay their respects at a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Friends, family and other community members gather to pay their respects at a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Friends perform a song as candles are lit during a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Friends perform a song as candles are lit during a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017.
Friends, family and other community members gather to pay their respects at a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Friends, family and other community members gather to pay their respects at a vigil for Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Alex Caldwell is comforted during a vigil for longtime friend Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Alex Caldwell is comforted during a vigil for longtime friend Nicholas Neiderhiser at the Diamond in Ligonier on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.

The Ligonier community held a vigil Tuesday evening for a teenager killed in a crash on his 17th birthday while driving to school with his brother, who was seriously injured.

Nicholas Richard Neiderhiser was behind the wheel with his brother Tyler as a passenger Tuesday when his car crashed along Route 711, about 2 miles north of the borough in Ligonier Township, according to the Westmoreland County Coroner's Office.

Township police confirmed witnesses' reports that a deer ran in front of Neiderhiser's Chevrolet Nova. The car traveled off the road and struck a tree, Coroner Ken Bacha said.

"The Ligonier Valley lost an outstanding young gentleman today," said Jake Foust, assistant coach of the Ligonier Junior Legion baseball team, which Neiderhiser played on last summer. "He was just a great kid who did anything you asked of him, and his family is very nice. ... It's such a tragedy,"

"Nick played right field. He always gave 100 percent. He was easy to coach and always respectful," Foust said.

Ligonier Valley School District Superintendent Christine Oldham said teachers and students were devastated by news of the accident.

A community vigil for the Neiderhisers was held on The Diamond in Ligonier Tuesday evening.

Westmoreland County 911 supervisors said it was about 6:50 a.m. when Neiderhiser's car went off Route 711 near Barron Road and traveled down an embankment. Both brothers were trapped in the wreckage. The coroner's office said Tyler Neiderhiser was airlifted to Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown.

Bacha reported Nicholas Neiderhiser was not wearing a seat belt, and the car wasn't equipped with air bags. Bacha ruled his death as accidental due to blunt-force trauma to the head, neck and chest.

Police said an accident report was not yet available, and the crash remains under investigation.

Route 711 was temporarily closed in the area of the crash.

"We're all just heartbroken and our thoughts and prayers go out to their family coping with such a loss. Nick was very well liked," Oldham said. She described the high school junior as "a great kid."

District officials posted a statement on their website:

"This morning, one of our Ligonier Valley High School students died as a result of a car accident. His brother was also injured in the accident. We are all shocked by the news of this tragedy, and our hearts and prayers go out to their family and friends.

"A sudden loss like this can cause many strong feelings, and we know that the next several weeks will be incredibly difficult for so many in our community. We have arranged for counselors and therapy dogs to be at Ligonier Valley High School today through the remainder of the week. Our staff and students are aware that these resources are available for them throughout the school day," the statement says.

Oldham said school officials have encouraged students to talk with their parents about their feelings. She said the school district website also will offer resources.

"These resources include 'Helping Children Cope with Loss, Death, and Grief' as well as a list of external counseling services. Should you have questions or concerns regarding your child's response to this shock, please feel free to contact the counselor of your child's school," the statement adds.

Oldham said many students were using the counseling services that were offered in school beginning Tuesday morning.

The J. Paul McCracken Funeral Chapel in Ligonier is handling arrangements, the coroner's office said.

Paul Peirce and Matthew Santoni are Tribune-Review staff writers. Peirce can be reached at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib. Santoni can be reached at 724-836-6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or on Twitter @msantoni.

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.