Trooper killed in Beaver County crash was 3 months from retirement
A state trooper who was three months from retirement died on Thursday when a tractor-trailer ran a stop sign and hit his patrol car broadside at a rural intersection in South Beaver, state police said.
State police identified the trooper as Blake T. Coble, a 24-year veteran who works out of Troop D, Beaver Station, where they said his wife, Brenda, is a dispatcher. They have two children, 6 and 8.
“His untimely death left two children without a father and a wife without her husband,” State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said in a statement.
The accident happened about 10 a.m. at the intersection of Route 168 and Blackhawk Road, shutting the roadways for hours after the crash.
Coble, 47, was taken to Heritage Valley Beaver hospital in Brighton Township where he died, according to Noonan. He was the 94th Pennsylvania trooper killed in the line of duty.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, Gregory Golkosky, 47, of Mt. Pleasant, was not injured. He was not charged on Thursday, and the investigation is continuing, police said.
No one answered the door at Coble's home in a quiet South Beaver neighborhood about three miles from the crash site.
Neighbors described Coble as a devoted family man who was looking forward to his retirement and traveling. The couple were shopping for a travel trailer to hitch to an SUV they bought last weekend, said Tami Riggle, 50.
Riggle said Coble enjoyed playing with his children and their friends. He would hitch a cart to an all-terrain vehicle and slowly drive them around, Riggle said.
“He was friendly as ever and would do anything for you,” said Heather Barger, 42. “Just a very kind, very devoted husband and father. When he wasn't working, he was playing with his kids, and you could tell he loved that more than anything in the world.”
Beaver County District Attorney Anthony Berosh said Coble once worked a dangerous assignment as an undercover narcotics officer, but the accident shows “patrol work is also inherently dangerous.” The tractor-trailer was headed south on Route 168 when it drove through a stop sign and slammed into the driver's side of Coble's patrol car, state police said in a news conference at the Beaver barracks.
“It's tough. We lost a friend, a wife lost her husband, two children lost their father,” said state police Lt. Eric Hermick.
Trooper Richard McEwen smiled as he reminisced about Coble's waist-length hair when he worked undercover drug cases.
“He was a good crime guy, a good interviewer, just an all-around good trooper,” McEwen said.
It has been more than a decade since a trooper died in a traffic accident, state police said. In 2001, Trooper Tod Kelly died upon being struck by a vehicle as he removed debris from Interstate 79 in Robinson, state police said.
Police said a full military funeral would likely be held for Coble, pending his family's wishes. Gov. Tom Corbett ordered all Pennsylvania flags in the Capitol complex in Harrisburg and at state facilities in Beaver County to fly at half-staff until his burial.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.