Local News

Driver of fatal crash a hero

Erie Police say the driver of the SUV in Friday's fatal crash had control of his vehicle while traveling at a high rate of speed, and in a heroic effort, managed to avoid hitting other drivers before the deadly crash.

A ruling has been made on the accident report for the deadly crash along West 12th Street, traffic investigators are doing what they can with what they have.

Sergeant Jeffrey Annunziata says, "I believe it's a mechanical failure that is the way I am going to rule on it and that is the way I have in my report."   He says the vehicle involved in the fatal crash managed to avoid striking at least two other vehicles on West 12th Street before the SUV slammed into a semi trailer at Cherry Street, killing Oscar Johnson, Willie Byrd, and Charles Barnes.

Annunziata continues, "the video showed the car was traveling at a high rate of speed but it wasn't zig-zagging around, it didn't show any recklessness; it showed it was under control."

Transportation Solutions, a leader in driving instruction, helps people of all ages obtain a driver's license.  Instructors teach all of their students what to do in an emergency.  If you lose control of your car, the first thing to do is put it in neutral.

Brenda Bennett, President of Transportation Solutions explains, "once you are in neutral, the brake overrides.  The brake will work like it normally works, your brake still works; but if you are not in neutral... they are fighting each other and that is where you see the confrontation and the crashes." 

We may never know exactly what happened inside Oscar Johnson's Hyundai Santa Fe, or whether or not shifting to neutral would have made a difference, but it is obvious to investigators he had some sort of control of his car to avoid hitting others before he lost the fight.  

Bennett says steering is important to remain in control.  "if you can focus on that steering, you can; most of the time, work your way out of these situations because that is where it is... all at neutral and steering."

More Stories

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center