Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Second bus crash victim dies

by on September 22, 2013 2:00 AM

A second person has died as a result of a shuttle bus accident that happened in White Township earlier this month, officials said.

Kathryn Reeger, 79, of Shelocta, died Friday.

The blunt force trauma injuries she sustained in the Sept. 4 crash were “pretty severe,” according to Chief Deputy Coroner Jerry Overman.

“By all indications, it appears she died as a result of the accident,” he said.

But pending autopsy results, Overman could not say the specific cause of death. He expects the autopsy to take up to eight weeks. He described the situation as “complex,” given the time that passed between the accident and Reeger’s death.

The crash occurred when shuttle driver, Michael Smith, 20, of Nanty Glo, failed to stop at a red light at the intersection of Ben Franklin Road and Shelly Drive and collided with another vehicle, according to police.

Three elderly women on their way to the White Township SeniorCARE facility that morning were in the shuttle.

Sondra Livingston, 70, of Homer City, was thrown from the vehicle. She was pronounced dead later that day after being flown to Allegheny General Hospital.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office listed her cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head and torso.

Besides Reeger, the shuttle’s third passenger, Grace Renwick, 76, and the other vehicle’s driver, Frank Fazio Jr., 77, were also hurt.

Smith was not injured, according to police.

State police at Indiana have been investigating the accident since it occurred.

Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said Saturday evening Smith has not been charged in the fatal crash. Dougherty added that investigators are waiting for an accident reconstruction report from the state police. When that report and autopsy results are available, he will confer with the investigators and decide if charges should be filed.

A second crash-related death means that if Smith is found at fault, he will face more charges, but it won’t change the nature of the investigation, according to Cpl. Jacob Jesse at the Indiana state police.

“If the driver was charged with a serious crime, there would likely be two charges,” he said.

The state police investigation, he said, could take several months.

The shuttle was owned and operated by SeniorLIFE, which provides services to elderly individuals with medical problems.



Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for the Indiana Gazette. Among her assignments are coverage of the Apollo-Ridge School and Penns Manor Area school districts and also White Township.
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