Charges on deck in fatal 2013 collision on Route 28
After almost a year, state police are preparing to file charges against a driver they say killed an Indiana Township man in a car crash on Route 28.
James Alexander Hanion, 64, of Pittsburgh is accused of being intoxicated, driving the wrong way and crashing his vehicle into one driven by Matthew R. Eiseman, 31, of Indianola, Indiana Township, on Feb. 24, 2013.
Police allege Hanion was driving south in the northbound lane when his vehicle collided with Eiseman's car about a quarter-mile north of the Delafield Road exit (Exit 7) in O'Hara.
According to the state's computerized criminal court records, Hanion will be charged with homicide by vehicle; homicide by vehicle while driving drunk; involuntary manslaughter; two counts of drunken driving, reckless driving, driving the wrong way and five related charges.
Although police obtained a warrant for Hanion on Tuesday and the charges against him are listed in court records, they haven't been filed with a district judge and Hanion has not been arrested.
Still, Eiseman's family say they are satisfied with the investigation.
“State police have been wonderful,” said Eiseman's sister, Melinda Tuerffs of Indiana Township. “We are confident that the justice system will prevail.”
Eiseman was one of Tuerffs' three younger brothers.
“He was a wonderful person. He was a genuinely decent human being,” she said. “There wasn't a mean streak in his body.”
Tuerffs said Eiseman's girlfriend was three months pregnant at the time of the crash. His son is about 6 months old and lives in the Alle-Kiski Valley.
Tuerffs declined to talk about Hanion or the charges against him.
Court documents do not list an address for Hanion, and he does not have a listed phone number.
State police say the nature of the investigation is to blame for the length of time it took to get an arrest warrant.
State police Sgt. Fred Krute said he could not comment specifically on Hanion's case but he noted that the process is much the same for all vehicular homicide investigations.
Accident reconstruction teams have to examine each vehicle and process various pieces of evidence. In addition, said Krute, most modern cars are equipped with “black boxes” that record how the vehicle was performing at the time of a crash.
Although the information in those boxes can be valuable for investigators, it isn't easy to get.
Krute said search warrants have to be obtained for the boxes before they are removed from the vehicles. The boxes are then shipped to the vehicle manufacturer to retrieve the coded information.
That, said Krute, can add months to a vehicular homicide investigation.
It's not until the information is in hand that the police can seek arrest warrants and file charges.
In the meantime, Eiseman's family plans to commemorate the anniversary of his death.
Family and friends will honor his memory with a private, red balloon launch on Sunday afternoon, a day before the anniversary of his death, Tuerffs said.
“If anyone wants to join with us, just launch a red balloon at 5:15 p.m. Sunday,” she said. “A red balloon is the way that (Mothers Against Drunken Driving) remembers loved ones.”
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 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.
- Harmar-based company’s expansion into Tarentum adds jobs
- 3 charged in East Deer home invasion
- Harrison fire victim helps others while on road to recovery
- 4 plead guilty to charges of luring, beating man at Harrison gas station
- Authorities investigating grocery store robberies Plum, Monroeville
- Generous Leechburg boy receives Christmas surprise from secret Santa
- Return of Verona’s Doughboy statue delayed
- Hays ‘eagle cams’ reinstalled for 2015 nesting season
- Bell Township police shooting suspect headed to trial
- West Leechburg, Leechburg area sign gas drilling leases with EQT
- North Apollo Church of God serves dinner, gives gifts to those less fortunate