Driver bleeds to death on I-279 off-ramp
Driving home from work early Sunday, John Yuhas began bleeding profusely from a surgical incision in his arm. But rather than call 911, he left a crackling and frightened message on the cellphone of his girlfriend.
“I'm bleeding real bad. I'm going to the hospital. I'll see you later, and I love you,” Jeana Nolt, 29, of Emsworth said he told her in the message left about 5 a.m.
Yuhas, 34, of Emsworth was found dead in his car about 9:30 a.m. on the shoulder of a ramp off Interstate 279 and Camp Horne Road in Ohio Township. State police said he bled to death.
“It was a very big wound that was open,” said Trooper Robin Mungo, a spokeswoman for state police, who patrol the highway.
State police shut down the exit for several hours as they investigated what appeared could be a crime scene until they reached Nolt.
Yuhas tended bar and made pizzas at Carhops, a restaurant in the Strip District. Nolt worked on Saturday night in a restaurant and did not hear the message until shortly before noon.
“I called up all the hospitals and couldn't find him,” she said. “I worried for the worst, and that's what happened.”
She said his kidneys had been failing since he was 7. He had an unsuccessful kidney transplant when he was about 16. He has been on dialysis three times a week, said his sister, Melissa Yuhas, 30, of Redstone in Fayette County.
John Yuhas underwent dialysis through a fistula, a surgically created access in a limb. Nolt said he had surgery on his right arm on Feb. 24 in West Penn Hospital because of aneurysms.
“He was a funny man,” Melissa Yuhas said. She said her brother took pride in being a Pittsburgher and loved the Steelers and playing video games.
Yuhas and Nolt met when she was a student at the former Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Downtown. Her roommate was playing Hackey Sack with him and brought him to their apartment, but Nolt ignored him. She later met him outside during a fire alarm. That was 10 1⁄2 years ago.
“That night, it just clicked, and we stayed together,” she said. “From there we were never apart.”
The couple enjoyed going to amusement parks and the beach.
His medical issues frequently arose. He had an infection on his arm and a severe nosebleed, and Nolt said she had to encourage him to go to the hospital.
“He refused to call the ambulance every time he was in pain,” she said.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office plans to conduct an autopsy on Monday. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.