3-vehicle crash

Motor vehicle crash involving 3 vehicles on Route 119.

Indiana County Coroner Jerry L. Overman Jr. has identified the driver killed in a three-vehicle crash Friday afternoon on Old Route 119 north of Indiana, while state police have identified the other drivers involved.

Overman said Robert Daniel Riddle, 61, of Creekside, was pronounced dead in the emergency room of Indiana Regional Medical Center at 4:50 p.m., about an hour after his northbound Buick Rendezvous SUV ran off the road, sideswiped a guardrail, then hit two southbound vehicles as they approached McHenry Road.

The coroner said Riddle’s SUV hit one vehicle head-on, then struck a second vehicle. State police said the first vehicle, a Chevrolet Uplander minivan, was driven by Melissa H. Droske, 33, of Dayton.

Troopers said the minivan overturned after the impact.

Droske incurred what troopers described as major injuries and was flown by LifeFlight helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.

However, a dispatcher there said no condition report would be issued “out of respect for patient privacy,” citing a policy the UPMC hospitals have had for several years.

Two children, a 9-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy, also were in the Droske vehicle. State police said they suffered less severe injuries but still were flown to UPMC Children’s Hospital.

The third driver involved, Robert J. Lutz Jr., 20, of Mentcle, was not injured. His Nissan Altima incurred moderate to disabling damage, while the other vehicles incurred severe damage in the crash.

Overman said Riddle was treated at the scene by paramedics then transported by ambulance to IRMC where he was treated for some time before being pronounced dead by an attending physician.

The coroner said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the chest and the manner of death was accidental.

Authorities said Citizens’ and LifeStat ambulance services were involved, as were Indiana Fire Association and Creekside Volunteer Fire Company, whose volunteers worked to extricate the victims from their vehicle and then conducted traffic control, and Mohney’s Towing.

Homer City Volunteer Fire Department was called on standby as other units worked at the crash scene.

A dozen people have been killed so far oon Indiana County roads, according to records kept by the Gazette.