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Driver in wreck that killed Latrobe teen was drinking, speeding, police say

| Saturday, June 22, 2013, 12:12 a.m.

The 20-year-old driver of a car that crashed in Linn Run State Park, killing a Greater Latrobe Area High School sophomore, was under the influence of alcohol and driving too fast, state police in Greensburg said Friday.

Ryan N. Pape of 746 Lemington St., Greensburg, was arraigned Friday on multiple criminal charges, including homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence of alcohol, filed by state police.

Sarah J. David, 15, of Second Street, Latrobe, a passenger in Pape's 2004 Chrysler Concorde, was pronounced dead at the scene of the April crash along Linn Run Road in Cook Township. Two other teenage passengers, who have not been identified, were injured, police said.

State police Trooper John Fritz reported that a blood test taken at Conemaugh Memorial Hospital in Johnstown showed Pape had a blood-alcohol level of .129 percent two hours after the crash.

In Pennsylvania, anyone under 21 with a reading of .02 percent or more is considered legally drunk. The adult DUI level is .08 percent.

Pape admitted to witnesses at the scene that he had been drinking, according to court documents filed by police.

Police reported Pape's vehicle was traveling south, descending Laurel Mountain on the winding, rural roadway, when he lost control.

The vehicle struck two trees and a utility pole before becoming airborne, overturning and striking four more trees before coming to rest on its roof, police said.

Police said David was found in the back seat of the car. The coroner's office ruled David's cause of death as blunt-force injuries to the head, chest and abdomen.

She was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, police said.

Pape, his face bloodied, was found standing outside the car after the crash, police said.

A memorial for David, who was described by classmates and school adminstrators as friendly and “very well-liked,” has been erected at the crash scene.

David was interested in digital media and divided her time between the high school and the Eastern Westmoreland Career & Technology Center.

“She was an extremely talented photographer and excelled in the digital media technology program,” said Todd Weimer, principal at the career and technology center in Derry Township.

Pape could not be reached yesterday for comment.

He was released on $20,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing July 1 before Ligonier District Judge Denise Snyder Thiel.

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