Indiana County teen dies 9 days after car lands in pond during police chase
A 16-year-old Indiana County girl died on Sunday in a Pittsburgh hospital, where she was being treated since being trapped inside a car that overturned in a pond during a police chase on April 18.
Alyssa Stancombe of Ernest was pronounced dead at 4:50 p.m. in Allegheny General Hospital, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said.
The cause of death may not be determined for a few weeks because Stancombe's hospital records must be reviewed and the medical examiner is awaiting the results of toxicology tests, a forensic investigator said.
Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said on Monday that he plans to amend charges against the driver, Kevin Char Vasbinder, 21, of Route 553, Mentcle, Pine Township. Dougherty said he probably will add a charge of homicide by vehicle.
State police have charged Vasbinder with aggravated assault, accidents involving death or injury, recklessly endangering another person, fleeing an officer and various traffic violations.
Vasbinder is accused of driving his gold Buick away from police who attempted to stop him at the Wal-Mart store on Route 286 in White Township because of a report of a female attempting to steal items from the store at 10:55 p.m. April 18, police said.
Trooper Amanda Bauer attempted to confront a woman concerning the attempted theft, but she got into the Buick and the man drove away, police said. Troopers followed his speeding car on Route 286 and onto Indian Springs Road, where the car crossed Wayne Avenue and continued on Indian Springs Road until it went out of control on a curve, according to police.
The car crossed over Route 954 and rode up an embankment off the east berm, flipping onto its roof and landing in a pond in 5-foot-deep water.
Vasbinder was ejected; Stancombe was trapped in the car as it filled with water and suffered severe trauma and injury, police said in the criminal complaint filed against Vasbinder. Troopers and emergency responders pulled Stancombe from the car.
Vasbinder was treated at Indiana Regional Medical Center.
Vasbinder was released on $50,000 bond from the Indiana County Jail on April 19. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the initial charges on June 18 before Indiana District Judge Guy Haberl.
Stancombe was a junior at Marion Center Area High School, where grief counselors were available for her fellow students, said Matthew Jioio, high school principal.
“Our thoughts go out to her family,” Jioio said on Monday.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.