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Arrest made in Harmar hit-and-run; motorist strikes jogger in Harrison on Sunday, flees

| Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

Allegheny County police on Sunday arrested a Pittsburgh man suspected of hitting a pedestrian with his car in Harmar on Friday morning and fleeing the scene.

Robert R. Leaf, 47, faces a third-degree felony charge and a handful of traffic violations for his alleged involvement in the incident.

His preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 28 before District Judge David Sosovicka. If convicted of fleeing the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury, Leaf faces a minimum 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine.

It was unclear whether Leaf was being detained in Allegheny County Jail on Sunday. The criminal docket didn't list a bond amount or current address. Lt. Andrew Schurman and Detective Tim Stetzer of the Allegheny County Police Department were unavailable to provide details on the arrest or investigation.

Leaf allegedly ran a red light on Friday and struck a pedestrian who was crossing Freeport Road at the Route 910 intersection. After hitting the pedestrian with his car — reportedly a white Lincoln, Ford or Cadillac — Leaf continued toward the Pennsylvania Turnpike, according to Harmar police.

The pedestrian, a 54-year-old East Liberty man whom police did not identify, was flown to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh shortly after in critical condition. His current condition is unknown.

If the victim dies, Leaf's felony charge would be upgraded to the second degree and would carry a minimum term of one year in prison and $2,500 fine. Officials from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office on Sunday night said they had not received anything that would indicate the pedestrian died.

Another hit and run

Harrison police are seeking information on a hit-and-run that occurred Sunday afternoon in the Natrona Heights neighborhood.

Sgt. Mike Ropelewski said a 21-year-old jogger suffered a head injury when he was hit around 5:10 p.m. somewhere on or relatively near Poplar Street.

The victim is reportedly unfamiliar with the area and couldn't provide police with an exact location of the incident. He returned to his mother's house along Lilac Street after being struck by what he believed to be a gold sport utility vehicle.

The jogger was taken to UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh after he began fading in and out of consciousness at the Lilac Street home. The hospital would not release his condition.

Because of his head injury, the victim's account of the event may be inconsistent with reality, Ropelewski said. The victim also trains for marathons and may have been farther from his mother's house than Poplar Street.

Ropelewski is urging anyone with any information on the hit-and-run in Natrona Heights to contact the police department at 724-224-3355.

“This is difficult to investigate because we don't even know where it happened,” he said. “If anyone saw anything involving a jogger and a vehicle, we're asking you to please give us a call.”

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bashe@tribweb.com.

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