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Penn Hills man accused in hit-run in Harmar that seriously injured pedestrian

| Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, 1:41 a.m.

Police accuse a Penn Hills man of being the hit-and-run driver who struck a pedestrian last Friday in Harmar.

Allegheny County police say Robert R. Leaf, 47, of the 400 block of Billy Drive ran a red light on his way to work in West Deer.

According to police, the right front of a car hit Victor Tolbert, 54, of Pittsburgh as he was walking in a crosswalk across Freeport Road at Route 910 about 7:15 a.m., heading toward the Giant Eagle Express store.

When Harmar police arrived, Tolbert was lying in the northbound lanes. He was flown to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh with leg and upper-body injuries.

He was initially in critical condition and has been upgraded to serious condition as of Thursday night.

Witnesses said they saw a larger, white four-door sedan with a landau or darker-colored roof traveling northbound on Freeport Road.

According to witnesses, some traffic had stopped for the red light when the white car went through the light “at a high rate of speed.”

Police say a Port Authority bus surveillance video shows another car coming to a stop at the red light and the white car coming up behind it.

The white car moved into the curb lane, continued through the intersection and struck Tolbert, police allege.

County police Superintendent James Moffatt said a county detective learned that the car being sought may have been owned by Leaf.

Last Sunday, police went to Leaf's house, where they saw a white Ford Victoria parked. The car had front-end and windshield damage and a blue tarp was draped over the front end, police said.

In arrest papers, a detective said Leaf fled into the house's basement with two Rottweiler dogs, but a family member intervened and Leaf was arrested.

Police said Leaf told them he was driving the Ford to work at a West Deer grocery store last Friday.

He said he was going to the Harmar McDonald's along Freeport Road when he drove through a yellow light and “hit something, maybe I hit something.”

Police said Leaf acknowledged that he tried to beat the light and didn't stop to see if anyone was injured.

They say he drove through business parking lots, went home, parked the car and called off work.

Leaf is charged with causing an accident with injury, running a red light, failing to report an accident and reckless driving.

He was arraigned, posted $5,000 bond and was released pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday by Harmar District Judge David J. Sosovicka.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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