Aspinwall man, Tarentum woman die in wrecks

Chuck Biedka
| Friday, Sept. 15, 2006

An Aspinwall man and a Tarentum woman died in separate wrecks Thursday morning.

One was on Freeport Road in O'Hara; the other occurred near Pittsburgh Mills mall in Frazer.

Authorities identified the victims as Joshua Hill, 21, of Oakhurst Circle, Aspinwall, and Shirley Munson, 73, of 248 West Sixth Ave., Tarentum.

Allegheny County detectives said neither driver was wearing a seatbelt; both were ejected from their cars.

Two other motorists, one from Oakmont and one from New Kensington, were injured in the accidents. On Thursday night, they were in Pittsburgh area hospitals listed in serious and fair condition, respectively.

A dog in one of the cars died and another was injured.

The O'Hara accident

Hill died when his small, southbound sports car crashed head-on into a Mercedes sport utility vehicle at about 8:40 a.m., police said.

The accident occurred on Freeport Road near Powers Run Road.

The Mercedes driver, Ann Buechli, 52, of Oakmont, was taken to UPMC Presbyterian, Pittsburgh, where she was listed in serious condition Thursday night.

Hill, who was driving a yellow 2003 Nissan Sentra, crossed the centerline and collided with the SUV, according to a preliminary report from county police Lt. Chris Kerns.

The front end of Hill's car was shredded and the transmission was catapulted into a grassy area about 30 feet away. The back end of the car was crushed to about one-fourth of its normal width, and the trunk and front and rear bumpers were thrown into what became a 20-foot-long debris field in the northbound lane.

Police believe the car spun several times before stopping across Freeport Road's two southbound lanes about 100 feet from the intersection with Powers Run Road.

"This is the worse that I've seen," said O'Hara Police Chief Jim Farringer.

The silver, newer Mercedes SUV that police said was struck by the Nissan came to a stop atop the northbound guardrail, but facing the wrong direction.

There were two dogs in her SUV. One dog died and the other was taken to Triangle Pets at McKees Rocks, Farringer said.

Traffic was blocked along Powers Run Road and Freeport Road for several hours.

The county accident reconstruction team is assigned to the case.

The Frazer accident

About an hour later in Frazer, Shirley Munson of Tarentum died near the intersection of Riddle Run and Tawney Run Road.

The crash happened less than a quarter-mile from the Pittsburgh Mills mall.

Arriving firefighters saw the woman's older, white Chevrolet Lumina straddling Riddle Run after smashing into a guardrail about 10 feet from Tawney Run Road about 9:50 a.m. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner identified the driver as Munson.

Witnesses told police that Munson was driving up the hill on Riddle Run Road and drove through a stop sign, Lt. Kerns said.

The Munson car was struck by a Chevrolet Cobalt driven along Tawney Run Road by Evelyn Grady, 76, of Aluminum City Terrace, New Kensington, police said.

Grady, who was headed to the mall, was listed in fair condition in Allegheny General Hospital on Thursday night.

As is routinely done, Allegheny County homicide detectives are investigating both crashes. O'Hara and Tarentum police are investigating the respective crashes.

Additional Information:


Woman injured

A motorist trying to avoid hitting three deer instead hit a truck head-on just before 4 a.m. Thursday along Route 780, Upper Burrell, according to state police.

Police said Grant E. Miller, 37, of Apollo, who swerved to miss the deer at the intersection of Hillview Drive, received minor injuries.

Christy L. Bostic, 33, of Arnold, who was driving the oncoming truck, was trapped in the wreckage before a rescue crew could free her.

Rescuers wanted to fly her to a hospital but the rainy weather made that impossible. Bostic was initially treated at Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison and then moved to Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, where she was listed in critical condition Thursday night.

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