Crash claims another life
EDITOR'S NOTE: Changes made at 1:07 p.m. April 18 to clarify those who lost their lives in the crash.
SPRING CHURCH — A fifth person has died as a result of injuries suffered in a horrific traffic accident Wednesday night on Route 156 in South Bend Township, Armstrong County.
According to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, Kent G. Smith, 34, of Elderton, died around 11 p.m. Thursday at UPMC Presbyterian, Pittsburgh, where he had been flown following the accident.
Smith was a passenger in an eastbound Chevy Lumina driven by Crystal Kay Kelley, 41, of Avonmore, who also was killed in the accident.
The accident occurred around 10:23 p.m. on a bend in the road. Authorities said Brandon James Sulava, 19, of Apollo, was speeding west in his Ford Mustang, lost control, and slid into Kelley’s lane.
The impact was so great that it split the Mustang in two.
Sulava and two passengers in his vehicle were killed: 15-year-old Brandon Sauers, of Apollo, and 18-year-old Brieyonah Painter, of Kittanning.
Two other passengers in Kelley’s vehicle, her husband, Robert Kelley Jr., 33, and a friend, 35-year-old Kristy Ann Schall, of Shelocta, also were flown to UPMC Presbyterian. They remain in critical condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
The accident occurred in front of the home of Ranelle Barry. She said her husband and son were home at the time, and when they heard the sounds of a terrible crash impact, ran out to see what had happened.
She said the cars were so mangled that her husband at first thought the accident involved only one vehicle.
Sauers was an Apollo-Ridge School District student. Sulava also was an Apollo-Ridge student who graduated from Lenape Vo-Tech.
“We at Apollo-Ridge are deeply saddened by the loss of these young lives,” said Superintendent Matt Curci in a statement. “
“Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences are with all of those affected by this terrible tragedy and their families. Our staff has been working to provide appropriate supports for our students, and we will continue to have those supports in place as they return to school on Tuesday in this time of grief.”