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Article published December 19, 2012
Valencia man dies after crashing into restaurant
Kristopher D. Smith Cranberry Eagle
ADAMS TWP — A Valencia man died Friday night after his vehicle wrecked that morning off Mars-Valencia Road. Charles W. McClymonds, 73, was pronounced dead at 6:50 p.m. in UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh. Based on the hospital’s autopsy, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office listed the cause of death as massive body injuries due to the accident, which occurred about 11:20 a.m. at Jimmy’s Strip District Grille. McClymonds’ vehicle ended up wedged on the restaurant’s porch. Several customers were seated at booths that line the outer wall of the eatery, and restaurant owner Jim Leahy said the situation could have been much worse. “If he wouldn’t have hit my car and the other cars, he would have gone right into my restaurant where people were eating,” Leahy said. “It was a miracle that no one (inside the restaurant) was killed.” About 10 customers and several employees were in the restaurant at the time of the crash, including two paramedics. One of the medics said the driver, later identified as McClymonds, was conscious but nonresponsive. Leahy was preparing for the lunch rush when the car crash occurred. “I was just working in the kitchen when I heard what sounded like an explosion,” Leahy said. “I thought maybe one of the big shelves in the back collapsed, but when I came out, this is what I saw.” Leahy said the vehicle hit a pedestrian ramp leading to an adjacent business before going airborne then hit the bottom of the roof of his porch before hitting the parked cars. “He went so high up in the air that you can see paint chips from my roof,” he said. Waitress Makenzi Maze of Evans City heard a series of bangs before realizing what had happened. “The first thing we saw were all these poles and wood flying around,” Maze said. “Then came the car.” “My heart was just beating out of my chest. It was like a panic. After it happened, everybody just sort of freaked out and went running to the door to see if they could help.” Maze, who owns one of the cars that was struck, only started working at the restaurant a month ago. Sandy Mohr of Cranberry Township was eating a fish sandwich Friday when the crash happened. “We heard a large bang, and some one yelled, ‘Oh my God, he just hit the building.’ Everybody went out the door to see if they could help,” Mohr said. Her vehicle also was one of the three struck. “At first I didn’t even realize it was my car, but then I looked and saw the whole driver’s side crashed in,” she said. She spent the next hour and a half waiting for a rental car agency to pick her up because her car was too damaged to be driven. The restaurant stayed open Friday and was still serving lunch, despite the presence of emergency personnel and their vehicles and the wrecked cars. Staff writer Tom Victoria contributed to this report.