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Tragic crash dims bright future for 3 friends

| Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Each of the three young men killed in a tragic accident in Indiana County early Sunday morning were looking forward to bright futures, friends and family said.

Cody A. Brink-Douglas, 19, and Zane M. McMillen, 19, both of North Buffalo, and Sean J. Titus, 20, of Butler, formerly of Rayburn, died when the truck Titus reportedly was driving overturned in a muddy overflow pond along McMillan Road in South Mahoning Township around midnight Sunday, according to authorities. Plumville volunteer fire Chief Bill Hutchison said he believes the truck was climbing a steep hill to a camp on a private lane when the driver became disoriented and drove into the obscured water. Plumville fire Capt. Rick Stenman estimated the men were pinned underwater inside the cab for at least 20 minutes as friends attempted to free them from the submerged vehicle. All were pronounced dead shortly before 2 a.m.

Sandy Titus, mother of Sean Titus, said Monday afternoon that she and her family were having a difficult time making sense of the tragedy.

“We're still in shock,” she said. “We can't believe it.”

Titus said her son, who had two sons ages 4 and 1, had just completed his first semester at Butler County Community College last week.

“He wanted to be a policeman or a probation officer,” she said. “He was a great person who got along with anybody and everybody.”

Kari Kemerer, mother of Titus' 4-year-old, said Titus had accompanied the boy on a class field trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo a few weeks ago and had planned to attend a father-son dinner next week.

“He was an amazing father,” said Kemerer. “He loved both of his sons.”

Brink-Douglas and McMillen both graduated from Kittanning Senior High School last June. Kaleb Baum, who was at the scene of the incident and knew each of the victims, said they were great friends.

“They were funny,” said Baum. “They liked to goof off.”

Brink-Douglas worked as a landscaper and enjoyed hunting and fishing.

Baum said Brink-Douglas was thinking of entering the military.

McMillen worked at Armstrong Beer Distributing Co. in Kittanning and had planned to serve with the Marines. Fred Sacco, owner of Armstrong Beer Distributing remembered McMillen as a good employee.

“He was a nice young man — on the quiet side and reliable,” said Sacco.

McMillen also enjoyed target shooting, mixed martial arts and movies.

“It's a shame,” said Sacco. “It's just really sad.”

Family and friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at three area funeral homes and separate services will be held Wednesday. Snyder-Crissman Funeral Home in Kittanning is handling funeral arrangements for Titus; Bauer Funeral Home in Kittanning is handling arrangements for McMillen; and Redmond Funeral Home in Freeport will handle arrangements for Brink-Douglas.

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or tkaran@tribweb.com. Kate Wilcox contributed to this story.

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