Monroeville officer put on leave as police investigate fatal accident
A Monroeville man who was hit and killed by a police cruiser left behind two children with special needs, a family friend said on Friday.
Michael Barnes, 49, of Hazelwood Drive died of injuries of the head, neck, trunk and extremities, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said. He was hit while walking across Monroeville Boulevard on Thursday night. The speed limit there is 35 mph.
The Monroeville police officer involved in the incident submitted blood for testing and was placed on administrative leave per police policy, Monroeville police Chief Steven Pascarella said. He did not identify the officer.
Barnes grew up in New Orleans and moved to the Pittsburgh area about 15 years ago, family friend Angela Eichenmiller said. She described Barnes as a “very gentle, very kind, warm, loving, friendly guy” and a good father.
Barnes struggled with personal problems but worked to support his family for the past nine months, Eichenmiller said.
“We all make mistakes,” said Eichenmiller of Monroeville. “He was trying.”
Barnes is survived by his two children, Logan, 8, and Lauren, 12. Both children were diagnosed with Down syndrome and autism and attend school in the Gateway district, Eichenmiller said.
Their mother, Tamara Lord, is their primary caretaker, Eichenmiller said.
“(Tamara) is very distraught,” Eichenmiller said. “She's had a rough road with these kids ... To have whatever little support he could give meant the world to her, and now that's completely gone.”
Barnes was alone crossing in the 3900 block of Monroeville Boulevard at 7:24 p.m. Thursday when the patrol vehicle hit him, Allegheny County police said. He was pronounced dead at 7:49 p.m. in Forbes Regional Hospital, according to the county medical examiner's office.
The officer was not responding to an emergency call at the time. There are no streetlights or crosswalks within 50 feet of where Barnes was hit.
Eichenmiller said the family did not know where Barnes was going when he crossed the street.
It was typical for Barnes to wear headphones while crossing Monroeville Boulevard as he walked to his home in the 3900 block of Hazelwood Drive, where he was staying temporarily, roommate Brian Cassidy said.
There are a Sheetz, McDonald's and other businesses near his home.
The manner of death is pending investigation by Allegheny County police.
Funeral arrangements on Friday were incomplete.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or email@example.com. Staff writer Margaret Harding contributed to this report.