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Auto body shop owner killed in Clairton

| Thursday, March 13, 2014, 4:56 a.m.
Eric Slagle | Daily News
Authorities prepare to tow a Jeep Patriot that struck and killed a pedestrian in the 600 block of St. Clair Avenue in Clairton on Wednesday.

An Elizabeth man was killed Wednesday morning when he was struck by a vehicle driven by a volunteer firefighter in Clairton.

Phillip Maffeo, 66, of Elizabeth was hit by the Jeep Patriot about 9:14 a.m. as he was attempting to cross St. Clair Avenue in the 600 block. Investigators said it is unclear whether Maffeo looked for traffic before he entered the street.

Allegheny County police Lt. Andrew Schurman identified the driver as a Clairton volunteer firefighter. Schurman said the driver had just responded to a fire alarm that was canceled and was heading back to the station when the accident occurred.

“We have to determine how fast he was going,” said Schurman, adding it didn't appear excessive speed was a factor.

A man who went to the scene and would only identify himself as a friend of the victim said he thinks Maffeo may have been en route to a hardware store across the street from his parked car when he was hit.

The man said Maffeo owned the auto body center Central Auto Center at the intersection of St. Clair Avenue and Route 837. He said the body shop served as a gathering place for him and other friends of Maffeo's.

“It was like a little hangout,” the man said of the body shop. “We all loved him.”

Maffeo was taken to Jefferson Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m., according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office.

Clairton VFD Chief John Lattanzi said he could not comment on the accident.

“After the county is done investigating, we'll have some remarks,” he said.

An autopsy is planned for Thursday.

As of Wednesday, no charges had been filed.

County police say the accident remains under investigation.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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