Community pays tribute to Pitcairn family killed in Thanksgiving crash
Candles flickered in the cool November air as family and friends gathered Sunday night to remember two adults and a toddler killed in a fiery crash on Thanksgiving in North Versailles.
Kaylie Meininger, her fiancé, David Bianco, and Kaylie's 2-year-old daughter, Annika, died Thursday when a vehicle fleeing police slammed into their car at routes 30 and 48. The crash caused the family's car to burst into flames.
Amber Evans, 26, of Trafford choked back tears as she talked about Meininger and Bianco, whom she described as close friends.
“This is tough for everybody,” Evans said, “but this just shows how many people loved them and what good people they were.”
Hundreds gathered at Cliff Adams Field in Pitcairn for the vigil. Attendees stood around a back stop festooned with balloons and pictures of the family. Many wiped tears from their eyes as friends and relatives spoke.
Nikki Croft, 23, of Wilmerding said Meininger was her best friend. She recalled how devoted Meininger and Bianco were to Annika.
“She was the sweetest little girl in the whole world,” Croft said. “It's just so sad. I will always love them and miss them.”
Demetrius Coleman, 22, of Homewood faces more than two dozen charges, including three counts of homicide, in connection with the crash.
Coleman fled a traffic stop after officers discovered he had two bench warrants for his arrest, according to a criminal complaint.
He led East McKeesport and North Versailles police on a six-minute chase that exceeded 100 mph, the complaint states.
“It shouldn't of happened,” said Meininger's sister, Taylor Price, 19. “But this (turnout) is amazing. It's just astonishing that there are so many people here. They clearly had a big influence on everyone.”
Bianco, 29, was thrown from the vehicle and died of blunt-impact injuries to his head, neck, torso and extremities, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.
Firefighters found Meininger and her daughter after they put out the fire.
Sherri Harris, 47, of Pitcairn said her daughter grew up with Meininger.
“They're way too young,” Harris said after the event. “It's just horrible. It always happens to good people.”
Tony Raap is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7827 or email@example.com.