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Fawn community walk to celebrate man's life, stress safety

| Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, 12:51 a.m.
Photo courtesy of the Walters family
John Walters of Fawn was struck and killed by a vehicle while he walking on Howes Run Road in Fawn on Tuesday, June 11, 2013.

Family and friends of John Walters on Saturday plan to complete the walk the Fawn man never got to finish.

Walters, 62, was taking his regular neighborhood walk along Howes Run Road on the morning of June 11 when he was struck by a Chevrolet Blazer driven by a teenager. Despite the resuscitation efforts of the driver and emergency responders, Walters died at the scene.

“We want to walk him home,” said his daughter, Kerri Lobaugh of Brackenridge.

Lobaugh is inviting the community to join Walters' family at the Fawn township building, 3054 Howes Run Road, at 7 p.m. Saturday.

They plan to leave at 7:30 p.m. to walk north to the crash site near 4649 Howes Run Road, then turn around and walk to the Walters home about a mile away on Donnellville Road.

Lobaugh said they will have a vigil with Chinese lanterns at the house. Afterward, the family will have a private memorial around a bonfire.

“My dad really liked campfires, so that's what we're going to do,” she said.

Lobaugh said she hopes the event will give the community an opportunity to remember Walters, as well as send a reminder to drivers to use caution.

“We want to raise awareness,” she said. “When my dad got hit, it was a clear road, no hills or blind spots.”

The driver, whom officials have not identified, told them Walters walked onto the road and into the path of his sport utility vehicle.

No charges have been filed; Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, said the case is under review.

“We want the truth and an explanation,” said a tearful Lobaugh. “He always took his daily walk out there for 10 years. When he got hit, it was a huge tragedy for us.”

Family members have said Walters walked as part of his recovery from back surgery. He often used a back brace and a cane and was known to wear headphones to listen to country music.

Fawn police Chief Tim Mayberry said firefighters will help direct traffic Saturday night to protect the walkers, especially near the intersection of Howes Run Road and Route 908.

Lobaugh said she planned to post signs in the area about the walk.

Tim Cornuet, Walters' brother-in-law and president of Eureka Fire Rescue EMS in Tarentum, said at least one Eureka ambulance will be on hand as a safety precaution.

Cornuet said his employer, W.L. Roenigk Inc., donated a bus for anyone who wants to participate but has difficulty walking the two-mile, round-trip route.

Lobaugh said T-shirts were donated and will be distributed to walkers.

“Anyone who's been through something like this, they can join us,” she said. “I would love for the public to come out.”

Staff writer Braden Ashe contributed. Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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