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Investigators seek fatal crash cause

| Thursday, Aug. 12, 2004

A Blairsville woman killed in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday on Route 119 in Burrell Township died of injuries sustained in the accident, according to the Indiana County Coroner's office.

An autopsy performed on Donna McDowell, 68, of Old William Penn Highway, showed severe internal injuries of the chest and multiple fractures, said Michael Baker, chief deputy coroner.

"The autopsy showed there was no indication that McDowell suffered a cardiac event or stroke that may have led to her losing control of her car and crossing into the path of another vehicle in the construction zone," Baker said. "An investigation is continuing to determine if a mechanical malfunction in McDowell's 1998 Toyota Camry may have been a factor in the crash."

McDowell was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:20 p.m. by Baker, who said her car crossed the center line and hit a 1988 Chevrolet minivan driven by Nicholas Sabatine Jr., 59, of Blacklick.

Sandra Wissinger, 45, of Blacklick, was extricated from the vehicle and flown to UPMC Presbyterian. A hospital spokesman said she was in fair condition last night. Sabatine was flown to Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown for treatment of injuries. A hospital spokesman last night said Sabatine had been released.

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