Trucker charged in I-70 crash that killed 2 people
State police charged the driver of a tractor-trailer after it drove across a grassy median on Interstate 70 in Washington County on Saturday, hit two cars traveling in the opposite direction and crushed a Maryland woman and her adult daughter to death. Four other people were injured.
The crash in South Strabane caused huge traffic backups as vehicles crept along detours that took more than an hour.
Washington County Coroner Tim Warco identified the victims as Karen Babka, 57, and Kaitlin Babka, 21, both of Hughesville, Md.
Karen Babka was driving the Dodge Charger in which daughter Kaitlin Babka was a passenger, Warco said. He ruled their deaths as accidental. State police said two other people suffered serious injuries, and two people suffered moderate injuries. Two of the injured were children.
State police charged Yevgeniy Bugreyev, 44, of West Sacramento, Calif., with two counts of homicide by vehicle. He was arraigned Saturday afternoon in Washington before District Judge Robert Redlinger, who set his bond at $1 million pending a preliminary hearing.
Bugreyev had no comment after the arraignment. He was taken to the Washington County Jail.
The crash happened shortly before 11:30 a.m. Saturday just west of the Lakeview Drive overpass. It closed the eastbound lanes for several hours. Although a light snow fell on the area Saturday, authorities said it was not a factor in the accident.
Bugreyev provided a blood sample and has been cooperating with authorities, police said.
State police said the tractor-trailer driver was traveling west on I-70 and, for an unknown reason, crossed the grassy median and went into the eastbound lanes, crushing the Dodge Charger and killing two people.
A Chevy Trailblazer then drove into the roof of the overturned trailer.
All four SUV occupants, including two children, were injured. Police did not name the children. Brandy Lynn Gray, 33, of Scenery Hill and one of the child passengers were injured seriously, police said. Driver Darlene Gray, 59, of Washington and the other child sustained moderate injuries.
The rig and trailer were heavily damaged. It was hauling rock salt, state police said. Some of its cargo, packaged in large bags, landed outside the trailer.
The westbound lanes of I-70 reopened about 3:30 p.m. The eastbound lanes remained closed while police investigated the crash.
Because the accident occurred near the I-70 interchange with Interstate 79, traffic was diverted at Exit 21 onto I-79, with lengthy backups of several miles reported on southbound I-79, near the merge point with I-70.
A Hazmat crew responded as fuel leaked at the scene, according to police.
Staff writers Tory N. Parrish and Bill Vidonic contributed to this report. Tim Puko and Adam Smeltz are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Puko can be reached at 412-320-7991 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Smeltz can be reached at 412-380-5676 or email@example.com.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.