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Car-truck crash claims life of pregnant woman

June 10, 2013 News Extra

ZELIENOPLE — A young woman, who was three months pregnant, was killed and her fiancee critically injured Monday afternoon when their car collided with a tractor-trailer on Route 68, authorities said.

The fatal crash happened on the same sharp bend in the road where other wrecks, some deadly, have occurred over the years.

In a cruel twist, the state Department of Transportation is to begin a project to rebuild the curve to reduce the number of crashes there, said Zelienople Police Chief Jim Miller.

Killed in the latest wreck on Route 68 at Ben Venue Road was 19-year-old Alyssa McKee of Baden, Beaver County.

Police said McKee was driving east about 1:40 p.m. when her Chevrolet Monte Carlo and a westbound tractor-trailer collided.

“It was a driver side versus driver side collision,” Miller said.

The car was forced into a guardrail on the eastbound berm.

The tractor-trailer driven by Ronald Gross, 55, of Boyertown, Berks County, traveled another 40 yards after the collision and stopped in the middle of the road. He was not injured.

Zelienople and Harmony volunteer firefighters needed 25 to 30 minutes to cut open the car and reach McKee, who was trapped.

Her fiancee, Kevin Snyder, 21, of New Brighton, Beaver County, a passenger, suffered severe injuries, police said. Both were taken to Pittsburgh hospitals.

McKee, a student at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital at 5:08 p.m.

Snyder was in critical condition this morning at Allegheny General Hospital.

State police assisted Zelienople police with the accident reconstruction investigation that closed the road for more than five hours.

Weather, he admitted, might have been a factor.

“It was raining before the accident, then it stopped,” he said. “When we got to the scene, it wasn’t raining but the road was wet.”

He noted, too, that the same stretch of road has seen more than its share of crashes.

“It has an odd weird angle right there, where this happened,” Miller said. “It can get dangerous when the road gets a little wet or icy.”