Man killed in Ligonier Township accident
A Ligonier Township man died on Thursday after he lost control of his pickup truck on Nature Run Road, traveled onto an embankment and struck a tree, police said.
Lawrence M. Habich, 54, of Hearts Lane died in the accident, according to the Westmoreland County Coroner's office.
He was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:35 p.m. by Deputy Coroner Sean R. Hribal.
Habich's Ford F-250 was beginning to descend a hill near a curve when the accident occurred shortly after 4 p.m. near Lady Bug Lane in the township.
“He appeared to lose control, get off into the snow (on the embankment), strike several trees and ultimately begin to overturn onto the driver's side,” township police Chief Michael Matrunics said at the scene.
As the pickup with attached cap was turning onto its side, “it struck a tree that impacted the roof of the passenger compartment in the driver area,” Matrunics added.
The truck struck at least two other trees as it traveled on the snow- and brush-covered embankment before coming to rest, authorities said.
“We believe speeding is a factor due to a witness seeing ... him prior to going off the road,” Matrunics said.
The section of Nature Run Road where the accident occurred has a 45 mph speed limit, police said.
Habich, who was wearing a seat belt, died from head and neck injuries, according to the coroner's office. No autopsy was planned.
The pickup ended up about 15 yards off the road.
An auto wrecker started to slide on the hillside as it attempted to use a chain to pull the pickup out of brush on the embankment. A PennDOT dump truck — one of two in the area — then used a chain to pull the pickup back on the road.
Police couldn't say immediately if weather might have been a contributing factor in the accident.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.