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Vehicle hits monuments in Greensburg Catholic Cemetery

| Saturday, April 28, 2012, 1:44 a.m.

Ronna Hand placed flowers Saturday at the memorial of Barbara Wagner in Greensburg Catholic Cemetery in preparation for an informal family gathering Sunday at her grave.

"Saturday's the second anniversary of her passing," said Hand of New Alexandria, who was Wagner's full-time caregiver until her death.

What Wagner's widower, 81-year-old John Wagner of New Alexandria, Hand and about 15 other family members found yesterday morning left them stunned and saddened.

Just after 9 p.m. Saturday, a unidentified juvenile female lost control of a white Chevrolet Cobalt she was driving northwest on Roseytown Road in Hempfield, left the road, entered the cemetery and hit Wagner's memorial, said Bovard volunteer fire Chief Greg Saunders.

"She (the driver) may have went off the edge of the road, lost control of the vehicle and panicked," Saunders said. "It was the only headstone in the area, and she just happened to hit it."

Upon impact, Barbara Wagner's headstone was thrown roughly 120 feet and landed on Roseytown Road. John Wagner's stone was pushed about 12 feet and was surrounded by divots and wreckage from the automobile.

State police did not release any information yesterday about the accident.

For John Wagner, founder of Allegheny Paper Shredders Corp. in Delmont, the damage was as much to his wife's memory as it was to the $31,000 monument made of Canadian granite.

"We were married 57 years ... If she were here now, she would have been worried someone got hurt," Wagner said.

Hand was stunned that she stood at the point of impact just hours before it happened.

"There's nothing to stop this from happening again. People are here placing flowers all the time," Hand said.

Wagner and Hand said they would like to see a guard rail installed along road to better protect the property, which includes 15 other plots, and the safety of those who visit.

"I'd pay for it myself," Wagner said.

Because the road is state-maintained, any chance of installing a guard rail lies with PennDOT, Saunders said.

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