Dunbar man charged in crash that killed college student

Paul Peirce
| Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

State police in Uniontown allege a 19-year-old Dunbar man was driving drunk when he crashed his pickup in Dunbar Township on June 9, killing a Penn State junior from Bear Rocks.

Ethan S. Kenney was charged on Friday in connection with the crash on Ridge Boulevard that killed Catherine A. “Cat” Healy, 19.

Healy, a 2011 graduate of Connellsville Area High School, was entering her junior year as a marketing major at Penn State Behrend campus in Erie. She was slated to be one of three captains on the volleyball squad.

Kenney, who turned 19 on Thursday, had graduated from the same high school just two days before the fatal crash, according to authorities.

Kenney faces charges of homicide by vehicle, accident involving death or injury, driving under the influence of alcohol, possessing and consuming alcohol while underage, driving on the wrong side of the road, careless driving and driving at an unsafe speed.

Kenney had a blood alcohol content of 0.11 percent at the time of the crash, Trooper Andrew Barron alleges in the affidavit of probable cause filed before Star Junction District Judge Richard Kasunic.

Under Pennsylvania's DUI law, it is illegal for drivers younger than 21 to have a blood alcohol content greater than .02 percent. An adult is considered legally intoxicated with a BAC of .08 percent.Barron reported in the affidavit that Healy, 19, was the only passenger in Kenney's 2004 Chevrolet Colorado pickup when it crashed about 4 a.m. June 9 on Ridge Boulevard, about 377 feet north of Evergreen Drive. The trooper reported the pair had just left a party along the road where the crash occurred.

Police said Kenney lost control of the truck, causing it to strike a guardrail and then a tree. The truck rotated 180 degrees, coming to rest in the other lane, police said.

Kenney initially left the crash scene on foot but was located a short time later, Barron said. He suffered minor injuries and was treated at Highlands Hospital in Connellsville.

Barron reported that Healy was taken to the Connellsville hospital and then flown to UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh, where she was pronounced dead of a traumatic brain injury.

On Aug. 10, hundreds of family members and friends of Healy's gathered at Mountz Creek Park in Connellsville to dedicate new sand volleyball courts, named “Cat's Courts,” built in her memory.

Kenney was released on signature bond, pending a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for Jan. 10.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reachedat 724-850-2860 orppeirce@tribweb.com.

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