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Man killed in Butler crash told cops: 'You'll read about me in paper tomorrow'

| Thursday, June 19, 2014, 3:37 p.m.
WPXI
Emergency responders work at the scene of a fatal head-on crash in Forward, Butler County, late Wednesday, June 18, 2014.
WPXI
Hannah D. Swigart, 36, of Butler died in a crash on Route 68 in Forward on Wednesday, June 18, 2014.
WPXI
Emergency responders work at the scene of a head-on crash in Forward, Butler County, late Wednesday, June 18, 2014.
WPXI
Emergency responders work at the scene of a fatal head-on crash in Forward, Butler County, late Wednesday, June 18, 2014.
WPXI
Emergency responders work at the scene of a head-on crash in Forward, Butler County, late Wednesday, June 18, 2014.

A Butler woman was driving home to her husband and three children late on Wednesday when her life ended in a violent collision that police said may have been an intentional act by another driver who warned them he would soon be dead.

Employees at the UPS distribution center in Jackson, where Hannah D. Swigart, 36, was a supervisor, mourned her loss on Thursday, describing her as a gentle soul.

“Everybody's pretty upset about it,” employee Matt Schnur said. “She was one of the best people I've ever met in my life.”

State police Lt. Eric Hermick said investigators are trying to determine whether Michael H. Reid, 38, intentionally veered his Dodge Neon into the path of Swigart's Jeep Cherokee about 11:20 p.m. on Route 68 in Forward, killing both of them.

“It angers you because he changed so many lives,” Hermick said.

Swigart's family, including her husband, Joel, and UPS management declined to comment.

Butler Township police Chief John R. Hays said that a woman, identified in court records as Carrie Black, called police just after 11 p.m. Wednesday, reporting that her ex-boyfriend was at her Butler residence and damaged the house and a vehicle by throwing bricks at them. Black said she had a protection-from-abuse order against him.

Hays said Reid had left by the time police arrived. When Reid called Black, Officer Alan Mores took the phone and tried to talk to him, the chief said, but Reid refused, ending the call with a chilling warning.

“He said he'd be dead by morning,” Hermick said. Hays added that Reid also said, “You'll read about me in the newspaper tomorrow.”

Hermick said Reid smelled of alcohol after the crash, and there was no indication that he tried to avoid the collision. Two motorists saw Reid speeding just before the crash, Hermick said.

According to court records and police, Reid had a history of mental problems, including several suicide attempts.

Two other women, including an ex-wife, had filed restraining orders against him, and all three against him were active. He had two drunken driving convictions dating to 1997 and 1999, according to court records.

Police said there's no indication that Swigart and Reid knew each other.

Swigart's Facebook page said she worked for UPS since 1999.

Swigart slept just a few hours a night, caring for her children, ages 1, 8 and 12, and working to support her family, her friend Beth Yost said.

“Hannah was an amazing mother, wife and friend,” Yost told WPXI-TV, the Tribune-Review's news partner. “She believed in God, and I know that's where she is at and she didn't deserve this.”

Schnur said that on many Fridays, Swigart brought food to work and helped load packages into trucks when needed.

“She would talk to you about anything,” Schnur said.

Yost's neighbors, Mike and Shannon Shook of Butler Township, said they met Swigart through Yost. Shannon Shook described Swigart as “bubbly, friendly,” while Mike Shook said she was “almost ‘hippyish,' very kind, always willing to lend a hand.”

On her Facebook page, Swigart posted on June 12 how she collected baby toads from a pond near the UPS center for her children.“We all looked pretty silly — but it was the most fun I've had at work in ages!” Swigart wrote.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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