McKean County crash that killed 4 Pittsburghers ‘one of the worst’
Two children on their way to see their father were killed Saturday in a crash that first responders described as one of the worst they have seen.
Ashley L. Smith was driving an SUV with her two stepchildren and Teonna L. Herring inside when she crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into a pickup truck in McKean County.
Smith, 30, of Pittsburgh’s Allentown neighborhood, was driving the 12-year-old boy and 9-year-old to their father’s house, said Michael Cahill, the McKean County coroner.
Police and the coroner did not identify the children. Herring, 31, lived in Pittsburgh’s North Side.
The crash happened around 8:05 a.m. on Route 219 near Town Line Road in Hamlin Township, according to state police.
Smith was driving a Nissan Pathfinder north on Route 219 when she traveled into the southbound lane into the path of a Ford F-150 driven by Michael T. Clawson, 36, of Mount Jewett, according to state police.
Police said Clawson was unable to avoid hitting Smith’s vehicle.
Clawson suffered serious injuries and was taken to a hospital by helicopter.
“It’s just terrible. Whenever you have four people who died at once — and two of them were children — that’s pretty awful,” Cahill said.
He said the circumstances leading up to the crash are unknown.
“It was a witnessed crash. And no one can explain why … maybe she fell asleep. But there was no other car, no deer. It’s unexplainable,” he said.
Cahill ruled the crash as an accident and said Smith, Herring and the children all died from blunt force trauma.