Two die after car crashes into store

Injured driver still in hospital

May 20, 2020 Cranberry Local News

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Two people died after the car they were riding in slammed into a Route 8 convenience store in Middlesex Township early Sunday morning.

Township police said Patricia Collins, 36, of Middlesex Township was a backseat passenger in a 2008 Kia Optima that struck the CoGo's around 12:10 a.m.

Collins was flown by medical helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh following the wreck. Police said the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office pronounced her dead at 2:49 p.m. Sunday.

An autopsy will be performed, Middlesex Township police officer Conrad Pfeifer said Monday.

Kimberly Young, 39, of Middlesex Township, a front-seat passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy later Sunday ruled the cause of death as “blunt force trauma to the trunk,” according to the Butler County Coroner's Office.

Police said the driver, Diane Read, 37, of Middlesex Township, was taken by ambulance to UPMC Mercy in Pittsburgh with moderate injuries. She underwent surgery Sunday.

All three women were neighbors on nearby Dwellington Drive, said police, who suspect Read was driving under the influence and speeding. The crash occurred about one-quarter mile from their homes.

Police said they believe Read was driving west on Dwellington Drive when she ran the stop sign at the Route 8 intersection, crossed the highway and struck the front of the store, which was closed.

“A witness said (the car) was airborne from Dwellington (Drive) to the CoGo's parking lot,” Pfeifer said.

Investigators have not spoken to Read due to her injuries, police said.

Pfeifer said as part of their ongoing investigation, they plan to seek search warrants — for Read's medical records, which would include toxicology reports; and for the car to inspect for any mechanical problems.

While he acknowledged Read could face criminal charges, he would not elaborate.

Police said when they got there the car was inside the store. The car was totaled and the store badly damaged.

“It went into the building, left of the door, through the bricks and front glass,” said Patrolman Bryan Costanzo. The front aisles were destroyed.

A passing motorist, who called 911, told police he was traveling on Route 8 when he saw the car coming out of Dwellington Drive. He said he had to slam on his brakes to avoid colliding with the car, and saw the vehicle travel “completely into the store,” police said.

Costanzo and another officer happened to be on patrol close by and were at the store within a minute.

The officers found all three occupants still in the car. Both passengers were unresponsive. The driver was asking police for help.

Police began medical treatment at the scene before ambulance crews arrived. A medical helicopter landed on Route 8 before flying the injured back seat passenger to the hospital.

Both front and side air bags deployed. It was not immediately clear if the occupants were wearing seat belts.

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