Woman, 21, dies after SUV vaults over bridge
By Jennifer R. Vertullo
Published: Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012,
Authorities describe the accident that took the life of one area woman and hospitalized another as "truly horrific" and "gruesome."
Iesha Tang, 21, of Monroeville, died in the Wednesday morning accident when the Ford Escape in which she was traveling vaulted over the W.D. Mansfield Bridge onto its Glassport underpass.
Tang's autopsy is scheduled for today at Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office.
Examiner's office officials said Tang's time of death was 3:05 a.m., and the call for the accident came in at 2:53 a.m.
The driver " Ivory Heard, 19, of North Versailles Township " was transported by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh trauma center.
Heard was in critical condition and undergoing surgery at presstime, Allegheny County police Sgt. Scott Scherer said.
She suffered numerous injuries including broken arms, broken legs, a broken pelvis and bleeding on her brain.
Scherer confirmed the crash involved only the Ford Escape, and a second vehicle following behind was not involved.
"They were traveling westbound at the Mansfield Bridge," Scherer said. "Their friend was familiar with the area, and Ivory Heard was not. He slowed down for the bend and lost sight of them.
When they attempted to turn onto the bridge, they careened over the Jersey barrier, and the vehicle came to rest on the underpass."
Glassport police Chief Howard Kifer said there is no doubt Heard's vehicle was coming from McKeesport at a high rate of speed.
He said the vehicle hugged the Jersey barrier that guides traffic into the bend as drivers access the bridge.
Kifer said the car hit the median and flipped.
"The guard rail wasn't moved. It wasn't touched. It wasn't damaged," Kifer said. "That's how we perceive the accident took place. She couldn't make the turn going that fast."
A Port Vue patrolman witnessed Heard's vehicle approaching the bridge and turned around to pursue a traffic stop.
When that officer got to the bridge, Kifer said, "the accident had occurred and the vehicle was on fire under the bridge."
Local authorities said McKeesport Fire Department was dispatched to the scene as they were leaving another accident in the city.
McKeesport Fire Department Deputy Chief Ed Harmon said the scene was graphic when crews arrived, because both the driver and passenger were unconscious after being ejected from the Ford Escape. The vehicle's engine was on fire.
"It was truly a horrific crash," Harmon said. "It was hard to even fathom."
Glassport Citizens Hose Co. No. 1 Chief Wayne Lewis said his crew tended to Tang and Heard while McKeesport firefighters extinguished the vehicle.
"This is something we are trained for, but it is very traumatic for those involved," Lewis said. "It happened so quick. It was gruesome."
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