Verona officer commended for saving missing woman unknowingly in medical danger
A Verona police officer is being hailed a hero for finding a missing borough woman who unknowingly needed serious medical attention.
Resident Joann Semencar was reported missing Feb. 26 around 11:20 p.m.
Police Chief Ron McLemore said she had reportedly left her home on the cold, windy evening in search of her garbage can lid and had not returned for a while.
Sgt. Jerry Frankos reached out to neighboring police departments and contacted the Allegheny Valley Railroad, which operates trains that pass through Verona and Oakmont.
Semencar, 68, was found along the tracks near Washington Boulevard by a train operator and Frankos.
“He had the frame of mind to call them because, who else goes on the tracks but the train,” Semencar said. “Smart move on his part. I’m glad he was recognized for that.”
She said she heard the train whistle, safely got off the tracks and was assisted home.
“I was glad to get into the patrol car because he had the heat on,” Semencar said.
Frankos received a commendation earlier this month from Mayor David Ricupero and a certificate from Allegheny County Council for his actions.
McLemore said Semencar refused medical attention that February evening, but Frankos was able to convince the family to take her for an evaluation.
She said she saw a doctor the next day, went through multiple tests and was surprised at the results.
Semencar was diagnosed with a large frontal lobe brain tumor and needed expedited surgery.
Frankos’ quick thinking likely saved her life.
“He did a great job that night contacting the right authorities,” the chief said. “I always appreciate the work he does for the department.”
Semencar said the surgery was successful and didn’t want to go through it again.
“I was having problems remembering my dinner dates and lunch dates,” Semencar recalled. “You would think I’d have some kind of horrible headache.”
Semencar said she still needs a few more weeks of chemotherapy and hopes to continue on with recovery.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .