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Bentleyville boy killed

| Saturday, Oct. 6, 2001

A 10-year-old Bentleyville boy was killed Friday afternoon after being pinned under a sport utility vehicle along Bentleyville Road in Fallowfield Township.

Washington County Coroner Tim Warco identified the victim as Andrew Latta of Level Street. According to the coroner's report, Latta died from multiple blunt force trauma as a result of the 3:53 p.m. accident near Evans Road.

The accident reportedly occurred when a northbound Suzuki Sidekick slid on loose gravel as it rounded a right bend in the road, then struck the victim. The vehicle then traveled down a slight embankment and hit a tree.

The posted speed limit in the area is 35 mph.

Fallowfield Township Police Chief Sam Woncheck identified the driver as Adam Cramer, 19, of Charleroi. Woncheck said Cramer suffered a facial injury.

An unidentified man who lives just north of the accident scene said he was playing football in his front yard when he heard the screeching tires and the crash. He said he immediately called 911, then rushed to the scene, where he noticed a boy pinned under the vehicle.

Latta was with two friends when the accident occurred. While the boys reportedly had scooters, police said they were walking along the road at the time of the incident.

Keith Woncheck, first assistant fire chief for Fallowfield Township, said the firefighters stabilized the vehicle on wood blocks before extricating the victim.

Woncheck said responding to such tragic calls takes its toll on the firefighters.

'I asked everybody if they were OK, and they said they were fine,' said Woncheck shortly after the rescue effort.

'If they're not, I can get a hold of a counselor.'

Keith Woncheck said emergency responders are taught to separate the person from the task at hand, but that is not always easy.

'No matter who you are, everyone is affected by something like this,' he said.

A neighbor who was at the scene said Latta was visiting a cousin when the accident occurred.

Sam Woncheck said the investigation is ongoing.

'There are some mitigating circumstances here,' said Woncheck. 'It's a bad situation.'

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