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Mars woman killed in head-on crash on I-79

| Thursday, April 21, 2011

Investigators are trying to determine why a car crossed the median on Interstate 79, resulting in the death of its passenger.

State police said Diane Spuntak, 52, of Mars was killed yesterday when the vehicle crashed head-on into an SUV traveling in the opposite direction.

A 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was traveling northbound in the center lane when the driver lost control and went off the road about a mile before the Wexford Interchange in Franklin Park, police said.

The car traveled through the grass median that separates the roadways and hit a 2009 Honda Element in the southbound center lane.

The force of the impact knocked the Honda off the road and into a hillside, police said.

There is no guide rail along the stretch of highway where the wreck occurred around 3:45 p.m.

The driver of the Oldsmobile, James McGuigan, 58, of Mars, was taken to Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side.

A hospital spokeswoman said he was in serious condition this morning.

The Honda driver, Brenna Halbedl, 25, of Oakdale, suffered broken legs, but an infant in a car seat was unhurt, state police said. She was taken to AGH, where she is in critical condition.

The inbound ramp at the Wexford Interchange was blocked by a police cruiser for more than an hour while investigators worked to reconstruct the crash.

State police Cpl. Kevin Brown police plan to interview witnesses to determine why the car might have lost control.

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