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SRU student dies in vehicle accident

June 3, 2020 News Extra

A Slippery Rock University student was killed and an Ohio man seriously injured Tuesday morning in a near head-on crash in Mercer County near the Butler County line, authorities said.

Nicholas C. Cheptiony, 25, a Kenyan native attending SRU, was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck on Route 258 just north of West Valcourt Road in Liberty Township.

Devon A. Desavigny, 24, of Masury, the other driver, was taken to Mercy Health -St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital in Youngstown, Ohio. His condition was not available Wednesday.

Police said Cheptiony was traveling north on Route 258, also known as Mercer Butler Pike, about 6:20 a.m. when he approached another vehicle in his lane that was stopped to make a left turn into a business.

The driver of the vehicle that was stopped, according to a police report, was waiting for Desavigny's southbound pickup truck to pass.

Cheptiony “attempted to make an improper pass as (the pickup) passed the stopped vehicle in the oncoming lane,” the report said.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts. Police noted that there were no adverse weather conditions at the time of the crash.

Mercer County Deputy Coroner Robert Snyder pronounced Cheptiony dead. No autopsy was performed.

Snyder said the cause of death is listed as blunt force trauma to the neck.

“He died immediately,” Snyder said.

Cheptiony was a first-year international student from Nakuru, Kenya. He was a political science major.

Snyder said he notified Cheptiony's family in Africa and his sponsor in the United States, following the crash.

The Springfield Township Volunteer Fire Department and Superior Ambulance assisted at the scene. Police said their investigation continues.