McKean County crash that killed 4 Pittsburghers ‘one of the worst’ |

McKean County crash that killed 4 Pittsburghers ‘one of the worst’

The Bradford Era
Four Pittsburghers, including two children, were killed in a crash Saturday in McKean County.
The Bradford Era
Four Pittsburghers, including two children, were killed in a crash Saturday in McKean County.

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.

Hamlin Township Volunteer Fire Department’s Chief Randy Himes told The Bradford Era the crash “was one of the worst we all have ever seen.”

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.

Brian Rittmeyer and Dillon Carr are Tribune-Review staff writers. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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