ShareThis Page
News

Volunteer firefighter, 19, dies in Sewickley Township crash

Joe Napsha
| Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 4:09 a.m.
Theresa Sager, a Yough High School graduate, died in a crash late Monday.
Theresa Sager, a Yough High School graduate, died in a crash late Monday.
Frank Sever Jr., safety officer with Hutchinson Volunteer Fire Department, places roses in the turnout gear of Theresa Sager, 19, of Hutchinson, Sewickley Township, on Tuesday, July 26, 2016.  Sager, a volunteer at the department, died when her truck crashed Monday evening on Herminie-West Newton Road.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Frank Sever Jr., safety officer with Hutchinson Volunteer Fire Department, places roses in the turnout gear of Theresa Sager, 19, of Hutchinson, Sewickley Township, on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Sager, a volunteer at the department, died when her truck crashed Monday evening on Herminie-West Newton Road.
Roses lie on the turnout gear of Theresa Sager, 19, of Hutchinson, Sewickley Township, at the Hutchinson Volunteer Fire Department on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Sager, a volunteer at the department, died when her truck crashed Monday evening on Herminie-West Newton Road.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Roses lie on the turnout gear of Theresa Sager, 19, of Hutchinson, Sewickley Township, at the Hutchinson Volunteer Fire Department on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Sager, a volunteer at the department, died when her truck crashed Monday evening on Herminie-West Newton Road.

Hutchinson firefighter Theresa L. Sager loved to help the Sewickley Township fire company, where she had spent time as a child, fellow volunteers said Tuesday as they mourned their friend who died Monday night when her truck crashed into a tree.

The 19-year-old had a “heart of gold” and “could turn a bad day into good,” others said.

“She was like my family. Everyone knew her forever,” said Frank Sever Jr., a safety officer with the fire department that serves the small community between Herminie and West Newton.

Sager, 19, of Hutchinson, was killed when her northbound 1997 Chevrolet pickup truck slammed into a large tree and overturned just off Herminie-West Newton Road about 10:15 p.m., state police at Greensburg said. The tree was in the front yard of a Nittany Lane residence, just south of the H.W. Good Elementary School in Herminie.

Sager, who was not wearing a seat belt, died of multiple blunt-force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:40 p.m. by Deputy Coroner Joshua Zappone.

State police said speed was a factor in the crash.

The crash was so loud that it caught the attention of a neighbor about 50 yards away.

“You heard her hit the tree, and it sounded like an explosion,” said Dominick Camarote, who was on his porch at the time.

Hutchinson firefighters were the second unit to arrive at the scene and were shocked to see Sager's Chevrolet Silverado, Sever said.

A makeshift memorial, with flowers and a plaque engraved with the saying, “In memory of a life beautifully lived ... a heart so deeply loved,” lay at the foot of the tree Tuesday afternoon.

Sager had been a firefighter for three years, following in the footsteps of her father, Ralph Sager, said Hutchinson fire Chief Bill Dull Jr. The tradition of firefighting service runs in the family; her brother, Jesse Sager, is a junior fighter.

“We're all close friends,” Dull said.

When she was a youngster, Sager would accompany her father to the fire hall, which is “the focus of town,” said Frank Sever, a longtime Hutchinson volunteer, said at the fire hall Tuesday.

Black bunting draped over the doors to the truck room and Sager's bunker gear — helmet, coat, pants and boots — had been placed in front of the trucks.

“It's a great loss. It will be felt in this company for a long time. She was a young person who was willing to volunteer,” Sever said, noting the difficulty of attracting new members.

“You never had to ask. She was the first one to help,” his son said.

At the AMD Fuel Co. Exxon station in Herminie, where she worked as a cashier, “she always had funny stories” to tell, said Jacob Bednar of Arona, a co-worker.

At Yough High School, where Sager graduated in 2015, she was remembered by Principal Earl Thompson as “a very, very nice girl.”

“She was a good friend to many people,” he said.

Sager's willingness to serve as a volunteer firefighter showed “she cared about people,” Thompson said. “It's really sad.”

The high school will have counselors available during regular school hours on Wednesday and Thursday, Thompson said.

Family and friends will be received at the J. William McCauley Jr. Funeral Home, 901 Vine St., West Newton, from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday and 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home, followed by burial at the Sewickley United Presbyterian Church, Herminie-West Newton Road.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me