Father, son killed in East Huntingdon crash
A father and son driving to work early Tuesday morning died in an accident at an East Huntingdon intersection that residents described as dangerous.
Drivers often speed on Route 981, just beyond Southmoreland Senior High School, where it merges with Ruffsdale-Alverton and Substation roads in a “W” shape, neighbor Gerald Eicher said.
“You can't see the traffic coming from the high school until the very last minute,” Eicher said. “You just kind of hold your breath and go.”
William Ray Leighty Jr., 53, of East Huntingdon and William Ray Leighty III, 29, of Connellsville were traveling north on Route 981. They approached the intersection about 4:30 a.m. in a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck when another driver rounded the bend on Ruffsdale-Alverton Road and the vehicles collided, according to state police at Greensburg.
The other motorist, Robert William VanDyke, 61, of East Huntingdon, who was driving a Ford Ranger pickup, was not injured, police said.
Eicher, who said he often uses back roads to avoid the intersection, said he has contacted PennDOT suggesting four-way stop signs or better sight lines. Neither vehicle in Tuesday's crash had a stop sign.
Suzanne and Richard Brown, who live across Crabtree Lane from William R. Leighty Jr., said the family moved there about six or seven years ago.
“They are hard-working, blue-collar people, really nice people,” Suzanne Brown said.
“He was always asking if we needed help with anything,” Richard Brown said.
William Leighty III routinely picked up his father to drive to work together, neighbors said.
Tim Dillinger, who lives near the crash site in Alverton, said he worked with the men at Versa-Fab Inc. in Upper Burrell. The father worked as a powder coater for about a year after previously working at United Defense in Uniontown. His son had worked for about three to four months as a laborer in the fabrication shop that makes electrical components.
The elder Leighty's wife called the shop Tuesday to ask if he had made it in for his shift, which begins at 5:30 a.m., Dillinger said.
The Browns said William Leighty Jr. and his wife frequently played in the yard with their grandchildren. “Our prayers go out to the family,” Suzanne Brown said.
William Leighty Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene. William Leighty III died at Excela Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant. Neither wore a seat belt and both were ejected, police said.
Frank Kapr Funeral Home in Scottdale is handling arrangements for the younger Leighty. Martucci Funeral Home in Connellsville is in charge of arrangements for his father. Attempts to contact the victims' family members were not successful. A woman who answered the door at the home of the elder Leighty declined to comment.
Coroner Ken Bacha said autopsies determined both men died of multiple blunt-force trauma.
Dillinger said southbound vehicles on Route 981 sometimes go airborne across railroad tracks before the intersection with Ruffsdale-Alverton Road. “They're sliding sideways sometimes,” he said.
George Miller, a foreman and machinist at Grandview Manufacturing near the intersection, said the road was closed when he was driving to work about 6:30 a.m. until about 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Crossing the intersection from the direction being used by the victims is treacherous, he said.
“It's blind if you drive up this way and try to make that turn,” he said.
Staff writers Paul Peirce and Karl Polacek contributed. Peirce can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Polacek can be reached at email@example.com or 724-626-3538. Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Route 22 closed in Delmont after tractor-trailer crash at cloverleaf
- St. Vincent professor, students use interviews for drug addiction data
- Mt Pleasant police officer assaulted while making arrest
- Hempfield Area balances budget with 1.79-mill tax increase
- Hempfield dentist-turned-missionary-turned-author offers advice for youths
- Hempfield man pleads guilty in crime spree in North Huntingdon, Jeannette, Unity
- Route 119 ramp to Route 819 to be closed in July
- Fire extinguished at Smithton commercial building
- Mt. Pleasant Township couple charged in abuse of 3-year-old
- Jeannette Glass saga drags on with appeal
- Former Mt. Pleasant sex offender to stay behind bars while wife hunts for home