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Osche to raise awareness for ‘Crash Responder Safety Week’

Commissioner Leslie Osche, speaks at an announcement on Saturday morning by the PA council on the arts in front of the Penn Theater. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle 9/30/23
Update: Son ‘making progress’

Nearly two months after her son was injured responding to a crash scene, Butler County Commissioner Leslie Osche will raise awareness for “Crash Responder Safety Week” on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at a Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission news conference.

“God uses us all in interesting ways,” she said with a chuckle Monday. “It just so happens that I’m chair of the commission right now, and I’ve had this experience, so to the extent that we can use it to help educate others, we will.”

Osche’s son — state Trooper Josh Osche, of Troop D in Butler — was struck Aug. 24 when he stopped to assist at an accident along the Parkway West in Robinson Township, Allegheny County.

Off-duty, Josh was hit while attempting to place flares around the crash of a Subaru Impreza and a tow truck.

Osche said the tow truck’s driver, Blair Johnson, made the “heroic effort” of dragging her son to safety after he was hit.

“He realized pretty quickly that Josh was in big trouble,” she said. “He said he never expected, when (Josh) landed, that he was going to be alive — based on how far in the air he was launched.”

Since the accident, Osche said her son has been “making great progress” and is up and moving with the assistance of a walker.

“We’re finally able to get in a regular vehicle, and that just happened within the last two weeks,” she said. “He’s actually able to get out a little bit.”

Josh still is unable to put his full weight on his left leg, she said, but she said he’s expected to meet with a surgeon before Thanksgiving Day.

“He’s coming along fine,” she said. “His spirits are fabulous.”

And while he recovers, Osche said, Josh is still participating in state police work as part of its cellular analysis task force.

“He’s studying and researching and producing maps,” she said, “and also still — to the extent that he can — providing assistance to his colleagues in searching and doing analyses to help them find people or reconstruct incidents.”

But he hopes to return to his regular duties soon, Osche said.

“I’m hoping that once we get through the holidays, he’ll be able to go back to the barracks at least,” she said.

Josh speaks very highly of Johnson’s assistance at the crash, according to Osche, and he empathized with the driver who hit him — who “was very shook up.”

“He doesn’t fault anybody; that’s the one thing about him,” she said. “He doesn’t fault anybody, because I think he felt like an accident’s an accident.”

As chairwoman for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Osche said one of the planning organization’s roles was to “call attention to traffic safety.”

“It’s not just the safety of roadway construction, but in this case, it’s encouraging drivers to be safe and pay attention when there are crashes and crash responders on the highway,” she said.

With “Crash Responder Safety Week,” Osche said Tuesday’s news conference — at the Strip District Terminal in Pittsburgh — will include a memorial for local first responders killed responding to crashes.

“I think this is really just to call attention to the fact that this has a significant impact on people’s lives, and we hope that drivers will be aware of their surroundings, pay attention, watch for those flashing lights, blinker lights, reflective vests,” she said. “Watch for those things, and slow down.”

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