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Coroner: 17-year-old girl killed, 1 injured in crash on Route 982 in Derry Township

September 23, 2018
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Investigators work at a fatal crash on Route 982 in Derry Township on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018.

A 17-year-old Derry Township girl died in a one-vehicle crash early Wednesday after a deer apparently jumped in front of the car she was riding in, according to investigators.

Marissa Bolish, a Derry Area High School senior, was a passenger in a Ford Mustang that struck a utility pole on Route 982 near Mission Road at 4:21 a.m., said county Deputy Coroner Jonathon Jenkins.

The driver, Brandon Ritenour, 18, of Greensburg, was taken to Excela Health Latrobe Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, said Trooper Steve Limani.

Bolish was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, neck, chest and abdomen, according to the coroner’s office.

Grief counselors will be available at the high school through Friday, said Superintendent Eric Curry.

He said the district may comment further if permitted by Bolish’s family. A family member declined to comment.

Route 982 was closed for several hours between Mission Road and Route 30 while police reconstructed the crash.

The driver reported that he was driving Bolish home when a deer jumped out in front of them on Route 982, Limani said. Ritenour, who was driving north, tried to evade the animal and struck a utility pole on the opposite side of the road.

“There are tire marks on the road ... which would support what he said was true,” Limani said.

There was heavy damage to the passenger side of the car.

“The impact was basically right on the passenger door,” Limani said.

It was not known if Bolish was wearing a seat belt, according to the coroner’s office.

Lopatich Funeral Home of Latrobe is in charge of arrangements.

The fatal crash was the third in the past five days on Westmoreland County roads.

On Saturday, Thomas O. Poole II, 34, of Greensburg, was killed after he lost control of his motorcycle on Lincoln Way in North Huntingdon.

Ronald C. Zubasic, 57, of Elizabeth was killed Monday on Route 31 in South Huntingdon, near Interstate 70. Investigators said his car left the road, hit a tree and overturned.

Speed likely played a role in both of those crashes, investigators said.

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