Charges expected in fatal Duquesne accident
Friends and family of the late Parrish Parker are shocked by the circumstances of his death.
Parker, 41, of Duquesne was waiting at a stop sign on N. Second Street and preparing to turn right onto Route 837 when a southbound car crashed into his vehicle and smashed it against his apartment at Oliver Plaza just before 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.
“Witnesses said he made a complete stop, and he was waiting for the road to be clear,” said Duquesne police Sgt. Ozie Sparks, who is Parker's uncle. “There was a gray-colored Lexus traveling at a high rate of speed. The driver lost control and hit (Parker's) car on the driver's side. The force of that impact took the car up over the sidewalk, through the grassy area of the apartment complex and into the building.”
Duquesne police Chief Richard Adams said the driver was traveling at excessive speed — enough to throw a sedan approximately 100 feet into the apartment complex. The impact shook the building, and startled neighbors rushed outside to see what happened.
“We believe alcohol and speed both played a role in it,” Allegheny County homicide Lt. Andrew Schurman said. “We expect to charge the driver.”
Authorities are not releasing that driver's identity until charges are filed. He remains hospitalized in stable condition, Schurman said.
Neighbors said Parker was on the way to pick up his children Parrish, 13, and Lamonte, 7, at the time of the accident. Parker was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:38 p.m.
“We were talking to him, calling his name ... but he wasn't moving,” neighbor Niquaila Parker said. “To see someone's body lifeless in a car, what can you do but call 911? Nobody here has slept or ate. We're in shock.”
“I was with him all weekend until the last second,” Diosha Jenkins said, unable to hold back tears. “We ordered food and made pie and ice cream. It was a wonderful day, and he was a wonderful man. He can't be replaced.”
Sparks said Parker was a true family man, who raised his sons as a single parent with help from his mother, Deborah Parker. A Steel Valley graduate who loved telling stories about playing high school football with Charlie Batch, Parker was a sports lover. He enjoyed playing football and basketball, and watching sports on TV.
“He participated in a lot of family functions, picnics in the summer,” Sparks said. “He was a good cook, too. He was fun to be with. He laughed. He joked.”
Neighbors, outraged by Parker's death, asked if the tragedy will bring improvements to Oliver Plaza or Route 837.
“You've got buildings here where people live with their kids,” Donna Dillard said. “Kids can't play out here if people are driving by like this is the freeway.”
Mayor Phil Krivacek recalled PennDOT improvements that added Jersey barriers several years ago to improve safety, because fatal accidents had occurred when drivers crossed lanes into oncoming traffic. Sunday's crash was the first fatal accident in that location since the improvements were made.
“They could have fixed that problem when the first accident happened,” Dillard said. “Now, a man had to die.”
“I don't have a problem calling PennDOT out to review it to see if there is anything different that could be done there to satisfy our residents and the drivers on the road,” Krivacek said.
Neighbors said drivers from Duquesne and neighboring municipalities know to take the bend with caution, because it is hazardous. They said they don't understand why any driver “in their right mind” would be in such a hurry.
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or firstname.lastname@example.org.