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Harrison crash claims two friends

| Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011

Two 19-year-old women from Tarentum were killed in a single-car wreck on Freeport Road late Monday night.

Allegheny County Police said Samantha Smith and Elisabeth Carney were killed when the Chevrolet Cobalt that Carney was driving crossed the center line, ran over a curb and struck head on an orange "low-boy" truck trailer that was parked in the front of Ron Gillette Inc.

Police said the two teens weren't discovered until about 8 a.m. Tuesday -- some nine hours after the accident -- when someone saw the mangled car sitting in front of the business and called 9-1-1.

Ron Gillette Inc. is a towing company and on a dark, rainy night, a wrecked car sitting in the front salvage yard would not look out of place, police said.

According to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office, Smith and Carney both died from blunt force trauma.

County police said they don't believe alcohol or texting caused the accident.

Smith's roommate, Christina Nacey, said the women went to Walmart at about 11:15 Monday night. Police believe the wreck occurred when the two women were on their way home.

"They went to get cream cheese and never came back," Nacey said raising her head from the shoulder of friend, Courtney Craig.

Craig said that after they failed to return from the shopping trip, Nacey put up a Facebook status asking if anyone had seen the two women.

Craig said someone commented on the Facebook status that a black Cobalt had wrecked along Freeport Road, and that's when the women went to the scene, arriving to the scene at about 10:30 a.m.

"Sam's been my best friend since elementary school," Craig said with tears running down her cheeks. "We were all best friends. We never did anything without each other. I would have done anything for them."

Carney graduated from Kiski Area High School in 2010.

Principal Chad Roland said the high school was shaken by the news.

"It's a real tragedy," he said. "Beth was a very friendly and outgoing girl. We're all just in shock."

Roland said that because Carney was close in age to current high school students, the school would have grief counselors on campus for students or staff who were distraught.

Smith was a 2010 graduate of Leechburg Area High School, where she played varsity basketball.

Leechburg Area High School Principal Cynthia Portman said her district also had counselors on hand to speak with students and staff about Smith's death yesterday.

"We are a small district, a close-knit community, and we are deeply saddened by this tragic event," said Portman. "We are a small enough district that many of the students here knew her."

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