Student killed, 3 hurt in East Franklin crash

Renatta Signorini
| Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Kittanning High School senior was fatally injured in a car accident after he lost control while driving along Wible Road in East Franklin on Tuesday evening.

Township police said a Ford Explorer being driven by Brett Joseph Charmello, 17, of Kittanning, rolled over around 7:52 p.m., and threw the teen from the vehicle. Charmello was flown by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital where he died at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Three teen passengers sustained injuries in the crash. East Franklin Sgt. David Hartz said police are investigating the accident.

A spokesman for the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and trunk.

Charmello worked as a bagger at Foodland in Hilltop Plaza and was loved by everybody he worked with, said store co-owner Butch Kane.

"He was a wonderful boy," Kane said. "He's a model employee, he's very, very outgoing, very friendly. This boy is always smiling."

Cashiers and office staff took the news tough yesterday, he said.

"I had a few that couldn't even work today," he said.

Kane called Charmello a "lovable kid" who had worked at the store for about six months.

"Everybody liked him, everybody liked working with him," he said.

Charmello's classmates wrote messages on his Facebook social networking profile yesterday, some sharing memories.

Police said passenger Adam Michael Johnson, 18, of Kittanning, sustained severe injuries and was flown by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital. He is a senior at Kittanning High School.

A second passenger Anthony Ransom, 17, of Kittanning, a junior, sustained moderate injuries and was transferred to ACMH Hospital, police said.

A third passenger, Tyler Grantz, 18, of Kittanning, a senior, was slightly injured and refused treatment at the scene, police said.

An Armstrong School District spokesman said that the administration had been in contact with the high school throughout yesterday and made grief counselors and a school psychologist available to students. After-school activities were postponed Wednesday.

"It is a very unfortunate accident and we were saddened by the news of the student's death," the spokesman said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all the students involved in this tragic accident."

Township police were assisted by East Franklin fire department and Kittanning Hose Co. 6 ambulance.

Staff writer Patrick Shuster contributed to this story.

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