Connellsville Area High School Student Fatally Struck in Hit-and-Run Accident

In Ontario, Canada, the intoxicated driver hit and killed a 16-year-old Connellsville Area High School girl Sunday night. Uniontown state police had not identified the victim by Monday. Mark Lucic, 43, of Mississauga, Ontario, is being held without bond at Fayette County Prison on multiple offenses, including homicide by car and DUI.

Court documents show Lucic is a flight risk, therefore no bond was issued. Pre-7:30 p.m. After someone reported a person lying by the roadside, Uniontown state police were dispatched to East Crawford Avenue about that time for a health check, a Fayette 911 official said.

Police spotted Fayette EMS performing CPR on an unresponsive woman near Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School. Fayette 911 said Penn Highlands Connellsville hospital received the girl. Fayette EMS assistant head of operations Matt McKnight said resuscitation failed.

An affidavit of probable cause filed with the criminal complaint states that police found tire impressions in a grassy area from a vehicle traveling south on East Crawford around 611 E. Crawford near Schultz Street. Police wrote the impressions show the vehicle exited the roadway, drove along the southbound berm, and hit the girl.

Police said the vehicle drove south, hitting a white vinyl fence and street sign post. The trooper located many headlamp assembly bits in the broken fence. General Motors made the dark grey or black automobile, according to debris. The person was recovered where the vehicle was going south in the other lane, police added.

Geibel surveillance showed a vehicle speeding on the south berm of the incoming lane hit the girl, fence, and street sign post. The vehicle departed the site following the incident, police noted. The affidavit reports finding white cotton socks, shoes, and a cell phone south of the impact spot.

Police recovered a street-sign post about 100 yards from where it had been dislodged, a Dairy Queen cup with ice cream spilled, and a bag near the impact point. Police used numerous surveillance systems to issue a “be-on-the-lookout” for a dark-colored pickup truck with the headlight and front marker-light damage.

Connellsville Area High School Student Fatally Struck in Hit-and-Run Accident
Connellsville Area High School Student Fatally Struck in Hit-and-Run Accident

The affidavit claims that police recovered the pickup truck at a Circle K convenience station at 2001 W. Crawford Ave., Dunbar Township, at 9:15 p.m. Sunday with damage matching the crash debris. Police said Lucic drove a 2005 GMC Sierra registered in Ontario and struck a pedestrian, based on hood damage and video.

Police reported that the truck’s plastic molding included white vinyl fence pieces. Ice cream covered the windscreen. The driver-side front tire was flat. Lucic declined chemical blood tests at WVU Medicine Uniontown Hospital after being detained for DUI outside the store. After obtaining a search warrant, police took a blood sample for analysis in Harrisburg.

The document indicates that Lucic told the state police station at 1:55 a.m. that he had been at Seven Springs Mountain Resort for a company ski trip and could not return to Canada because he was drunk. Police said Lucic alleged GPS was taking him through various small towns on the wrong path.

The suspect said he had a flat tire and pulled into Circle K to stay till morning to have it fixed. The affidavit indicates that Lucic told officers he started drinking, fell asleep, and forgot everything after receiving the flat tire and leaving Seven Springs.

All Charges

Lucic is also charged with felony counts of aggravated assault by car and accidents involving death or personal injury.

He is charged with misdemeanor DUI-unsafe driving and summary citations for failure to keep right, reckless driving, accidents causing damage to unattended vehicles or property, careless driving-serious bodily injury, disrespecting the traffic lane, and safe speed.

Lucic was arraigned by District Judge Daniel Shimshock and faces a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 15 before District Judge Ronald Haggerty Jr. in Connellsville.

Fire Service

Connellsville Township Volunteer Fire Department responded. Connellsville Township Chief Rob Leiberger said the first call was for traffic control, but his department, the New Haven Hose Company, and Dunbar Volunteer Fire Company provided light Sunday evening for investigators.

He claimed Connellsville Township contributed two light-tower vehicles and New Haven one. Leiberger said New Haven and Dunbar use generator-light equipment for nighttime road personnel. Leiberger said Uniontown-based Black Diamond Equipment Rental gave 20 generator light systems to county fire departments several years ago.

“They spread them out,” Leiberger said. “ Your neighbor does. We made it daytime. They needed to see.” Leiberger praised the state police’s inquiry. “I can’t say enough about them,” he said. “They were everywhere,” Leiberger said Connellsville city police assisted. He said firemen left after midnight.

School Response

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Bradley said the Connellsville Area School District initiated its crisis-response plan after the fatal student accident.

He stated Coal Center Intermediate Unit 1 and Chestnut Ridge Counseling Service counselors were available to students and employees all day. District counselors had special training. Counselors were in each classroom according to student timetables. Bradley said the district tried to help the girl’s family Monday morning.

Bradley said the district offered to counsel her two closest classmates, whose families were not in school Monday. One family brought their child in to see a counselor. Bradley said therapy is available daily or as required. “We’re just trying to help the kids,” he said. “Their needs might come out during the week.”



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