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EMS worker charged in crash

| Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Penn Township man allegedly took a handicapped relative to dinner in a Jeannette EMS wheelchair-accessible van he wasn't permitted to drive.

Police said Charles Joseph Beiter, 27, worked for the ambulance service on Oct. 3 but wasn't on the clock when he took keys to the van, picked up a family member and crashed the vehicle on Dutch Hollow Road.

“He didn't have permission to be using that vehicle,” said township police Chief John Otto. Otto said Beiter was charged on Tuesday with taking the van to William Penn Care Center in Murrysville about 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 to pick up the family member.

The van was involved in a collision and landed on its side over an embankment, Otto said. The occupants suffered minor injuries, he said.

Claridge and Harrison City firefighters extricated both from the van, which was unstable, Otto said.

“It was very impressive to watch those guys do their thing,” he said.

Beiter is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and careless driving before District Judge Helen Kistler. A summons has been issued, and a Nov. 5 preliminary hearing is scheduled.

According to the Jeannette EMS website, wheelchair vans are available for people who don't need an ambulance but are unable to drive themselves to medical appointments. Passengers are required to pay for their trips — $25 each way, plus $1.25 per mile after the eighth mile is traveled.

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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