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Crash spurs call for changes to Penn Township intersection

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Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Changes could be coming to a Penn Township intersection.

Commissioners voted unanimously last week to request that PennDOT change Snyder Road into a one-way street off Pleasant Valley Road, said Township Manager Bruce Light.

The combination of a hill on Pleasant Valley Road and a steep angle at which Snyder Road connects makes for poor sight distance at that intersection, he said.

The intersection is located between Harrison City and Murrysville in an area where Pleasant Valley Road runs alongside the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Light said only one accident in recent memory has been attributed to drivers being unable to see other vehicles.

On July 26, 2007, two people were traveling by motorcycle on township-owned Pleasant Valley Road and crashed into a vehicle that was exiting Snyder Road, a state-maintained street.

The proposed changes are a result of the accident and subsequent lawsuit, Light said.

The township's insurance company will pay $240,000 to settle the case.

“In order to decrease our potential liability for a future instance,” township officials had to take action, Light said.

Commissioners have approved making a request to PennDOT to begin the road-turnback procedure. Typically, the state pays a municipality to take over ownership of a road under that program.

Light said if Snyder Road is turned over, the thoroughfare could be closed if a new street connecting Pleasant Valley Road and Raymaley Road were to be constructed to eliminate the sight-distance issue.

The June 2009 lawsuit filed by motorcycle passenger Caroline Castelluccio was settled late last year. The Robinson, Allegheny County, resident filed the suit against the township, PennDOT, motorcycle driver Mark Minnaji of Penn Township and vehicle driver Patricia Fasiczka of North Huntingdon.

In the suit, Castelluccio — she was married in January 2011, according to online records, and now goes by the name Caroline Humbert — claimed the township and state failed to post warning signs or to improve sight distance.

Castelluccio claimed that Minnaji was speeding on Pleasant Valley Road when he collided with a vehicle driven by Fasiczka, who had pulled onto Pleasant Valley Road from Snyder Road.

Castelluccio sustained a vertebrae fracture, facial abrasions and a scalp laceration, according to the suit.

Under the settlement, she was to receive $480,000 from the four defendants, including $240,000 from Penn Township through its insurance company and $125,000 from the state.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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