Saturday, July 28, 2012

Driver identified in collision with Pittsburgh police commander's vehicle - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

By Jonathan D. Silver  / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Pittsburgh police commander who suffered a fractured femur, pelvis and ribs in a head-on collision in Robinson is in serious condition today at Allegheny General Hospital after successful surgery Friday night.

The police investigation continues into the 3 p.m. accident on Steubenville Pike Road that injured Cmdr. Linda Rosato-Barone, 54, a 32-year veteran.

"Everything went well. She is reported to be in a lot of pain but the doctors report that she came through the surgery well," Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard said today. "Extensive surgery was performed on her lower extremities..."

Robinson police today identified the driver of the minivan that crossed the center line into the eastbound lane as Barbara Ann Loniero, 45, of North Fayette.

"It's my understanding that Barbara Ann doesn't know what happened," Robinson police Detective Dan Dugan said. "There were no signs of any alcohol or any narcotics."

There were no skid marks around Ms. Loniero's minivan and no preliminary evidence of speeding in the 45-mph zone where the crash occurred, Detective Dugan said.

City police are assisting Robinson investigators with the crash reconstruction.

Detective Dugan said that although Ms. Loniero's vehicle was clearly on the wrong side of the road it was premature to say whether she would face any charges in the crash. More information is needed about whether she suffered any type of medical event or if her vehicle experienced a mechanical failure.

"Everything has to go in baby steps," Detective Dugan said.

Ms. Richard cited an internal update from Cmdr. Kathy Degler that "indicated that hospital personnel reported that the other driver sustained a medical emergency situation which incapacitated her."

That information could not be independently confirmed.

Both vehicles had current, valid inspection stickers, according to the detective.

The commander's car has a data recorder that will be reviewed by police.

The two drivers will be tested as a matter of course for the presence of drugs and alcohol.

Witnesses who were traveling behind Ms. Loniero have been identified but have not been interviewed yet, Detective Dugan said.

Ms. Loniero's home phone was not accepting calls this morning

The crash also injured Ms. Loniero and Cmdr. Rosato-Barone's teenage daughter, who was a passenger in the officer's department-issued vehicle.

Ms. Loniero was in AGH in stable condition. Cmdr. Rosato-Barone's daughter was treated and released.

All passengers were wearing seat belts, Detetive Dugan said.

Ms. Richard said members of Cmdr. Rosato-Barone's large family were with her at the hospital. She has many relatives who are Pittsburgh police officers, and her husband, Sam, retired from the force earlier this year.

Jonathan D. Silver: jsilver@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1962.
First Published July 28, 2012 12:15 am

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