Cyclist struck and killed in Westmoreland County

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dwillen
Participant
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The news story is light on details, but apparently it happened this morning.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10097/1048517-100.stm


quizbot
Participant
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Tribrune Review has the details:

A Westmoreland County man was killed early today when his bicycle struck a pickup truck head-on on Route 981 in Mt. Pleasant Township.

Anthony Stephen Chianese, 21, of 192 Larkspur Circle, Mt. Pleasant, was traveling north near Boyer Road at 5:53 a.m. when he rode into the southbound lane and collided head-on with a southbound pickup truck, said Deputy Coroner John Ackerman.

Chianese was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:49 a.m. by Ackerman.

The cause of death was multiple blunt-force trauma, Ackerman said. He ruled the death accidental based on physical evidence including tire skid marks, the location of damage to the vehicle and the location of the Chianese’s bicycle.

“There were multiple witnesses at the scene, including the driver of a vehicle traveling behind the pickup truck,” Ackerman said.

He said no autopsy is planned, and toxicology tests are pending.

Ackerman declined to identify the driver of the pickup truck.

Greensburg state police completed their on-site investigation at 11:15 a.m., said spokesman Trooper Stephen Limani.


bikeygirl
Participant
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Sad…… :( was he wearing a helmet?


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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Doesn’t sound like it would have mattered.


reddan
Keymaster
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+1 mayhew.

I was reading the Snell test standards the other day. The impact tests are the equivalent of 5 kilograms of weight in the helmet, over a drop of 2.2 meters or less. So, yeah, a reasonable approximation of falling over and hitting your head on a curb.

NOT even remotely the same numbers as you’ll see with a head-on automotive collision at any likely traveling speed.

Regardless, a sad thing for all concerned.


Lyle
Participant
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A helmet can’t protect you from yourself.


Mick
Participant
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I beg to differ on helmets.

I have no idea whether Anthony Chianese was wearing a helmet or not. If he was not wearing a helmet, I do not know whether wearing one would have made a difference.

They talked about skid marks as evidence, so impact may have been less than full speed. It might be the impact was at a speed where one could possibly survive.

A helmet may, or may not, have made a difference.

I looked at the SR981 on Google (couldn’t find the “Boyer Rd,” though.) It’s a narrow, two lane, typical “blue highway.” No shoulder.

Boy, I would use caution if I had to ride a road like that an hour before sunrise. Lights, backup lights, reflecting vest, maybe even pull off to let traffic pass, if the traffic was light enough to make that possible.


saltm513
Participant
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How awful. I am from this area… can’t say I’d really ever bike pretty much any stretch of 981…


Lyle
Participant
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The best way to avoid accidents like this, if you want to, is to stay on your side of the road.

Signed,

Capt. Obvious (ret)


Mick
Participant
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Here’s an article on it. The picture it paints of Anthony is WAY different from what I had in my mind.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_675300.html

Bicycle collides with truck in Mt. Pleasant Township; man dies

Anthony Chianese was leaving the Mt. Pleasant Township home of Virginia Shunk on Tuesday after eating dinner there when he told her something she said she will always remember.

“I told him to be careful. He said, ‘Grandma, love you.’ He wasn’t my grandson, but I sure loved him like he was,” said Shunk, 75, of Kors Studio Road in Upper United, who provided Chianese with a place to live since November. “I’ll take that with me the rest of my life.”

Anthony Stephen Chianese, 21, died early Wednesday as a result of injuries sustained when the bicycle he was riding on Route 981 collided head on with a 1995 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Paul Santucci, 52, of Mammoth, state police said.

He was riding north in the road’s southbound lane for unknown reasons when the crash occurred at about 5:50 a.m., said Greensburg state police Trooper Michael Laird.

Santucci was driving in the road’s southbound lane just south of Boyer Road when he came upon Chianese and attempted to swerve and stop to avoid a collision, Laird said.

The front bumper of Santucci’s truck hit Chianese’s bike, throwing him about 60 feet south and into a guide rail, Laird said.

Chianese was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:49 a.m. by Westmoreland County Deputy Coroner John Ackerman.

The cause of death was multiple blunt-force trauma, and the manner of death was accidental, Ackerman said. No autopsy is planned, but toxicology tests are pending on Chianese.

“There were multiple witnesses at the scene, including the driver of a vehicle traveling behind the pickup truck,” Ackerman said.

Shunk and other longtime friends of Chianese — a 2007 Mt. Pleasant Area High School graduate — were nearly as puzzled as they were griefstricken by news of his death.

“I have absolutely no clue why he would have been out that way,” said Rhode Shunk, 21, Virginia Shunk’s grandson, who owned the bike Chianese was riding when he died.

Chianese had previously lived with 82-year-old Earl Saville of nearby Larkspur Circle in the Norvelt-Calumet area, whom he met through the Shunk family.

“The Shunk kids cut my grass for me, and that’s how I met Anthony. He needed a place to stay last summer, and I sort of took him in,” Saville said. “He had no place else to go.”

Chianese began living at Saville’s home in June and remained there until November. In September, Chianese became employed with a roofing company in Greensburg.

He was laid off from that job late last year, Saville said, after which he moved into Shunk’s home.

“That’s a shame, to be gone at 21 years old. I feel sad he’s gone. I just tried to help him out,” Saville said.

Chianese did not have a car to drive because he had little money, said Rhode’s father, Paul Shunk.

“Anthony also lived with us through his 11th- and 12th-grade years of high school,” Paul Shunk said. “He was a good kid. This is a terrible thing.”

No members of Chianese’s immediate family could be contacted yesterday, and funeral arrangements appear to be incomplete.

The investigation is continuing, Laird said.


Impala26
Participant
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If 981 near Mt. Pleasant is anything like the stretch of 981 between New Alexandria and Latrobe (which I travel on frequently enough when I visit my grandparents) it’s narrow, hilly, and cars basically drive at freeway speeds even though the posted speed limit is usually between 45 and 50.

With less people, enforcement, whatever, people seem more inclined to drive very fast in the country around here, faster than what’s actually safe. Biking in the western PA countryside would be a daunting task for several reason, and it’s a shame this young man was on hard time and this happened.


Lyle
Participant
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5:50 AM is dark still. Just guessing but from the sound of things, he probably didn’t have lights. And somebody probably told him, sometime, that he should bike facing traffic.

This is almost certainly the location of the crash.

It is posted at 45 mph, though as Impala says the driver was probably speeding.


cburch
Participant
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yeah news reports on kdka said he was wearing dark clothes and had no lights. the bike was black as well. dark clothes, dark bike, no lights, no helmet, riding into traffic. something bad was bound to happen eventually.

i really wish the ad council would take on bicycle education with a nice national campaign about stuff like this.

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