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Passenger speaks about wrong-way crash that killed police officer

A witness to a wrong-way car wreck in western Pennsylvania that killed a police officer said he and the other driver drank up to 15 beers earlier that night. The officer’s K-9 partner, a German shepherd, was also killed.

The witness, who spoke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said he and the driver of the van that crashed into the officer’s police vehicle worked together at a warehouse, and that the driver typically gave him rides to work in the morning. When the two finished work on May 4, they decided to buy an 18-pack of beer. They brought the beer back to the warehouse and gave one to a co-worker, saving the rest for themselves.

The man guessed that there were two to four beers left by the time they finished. Assuming they split the beers about equally, that would mean the driver had six to eight drinks before deciding to drive home. He invited the witness to sleep over at his house, and the two set out from the warehouse late that night.

They stopped at a gas station for snacks around 1 a.m. Forty-five minutes later, they were driving down the road when the van drifted over the median. The passenger remembered seeing headlights, and thinking that they were coming from the left-hand lane, and that the van was in the right-hand lane.

In fact, the vehicles were in the same lane. They crashed head-on, severely injuring both the police officer, who was pronounced dead an hour later, and the van driver, who was in serious condition as of May 7. The passenger sustained an ankle injury, but apparently was not seriously hurt.

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