Archive for Saturday, April 11, 2009

Priest runs over churchgoers, cops say

April 11, 2009


— Authorities and witnesses say a priest drove into a group of churchgoers after a Good Friday service near Pittsburgh, killing an 89-year-old woman and wounding four other people.

Madeline Romell’s leg had to be amputated shortly after the Friday afternoon crash in the parking lot of St. Maurice Catholic Church in Forest Hills. She was pronounced dead about five hours later.

Four others were hurt, but Forest Hills Mayor Ray Heller Jr. says their injuries weren’t life-threatening. He says the injuries included a broken leg and a broken arm.

Parishioner Angela Thomas tended to the wounded, including a man pinned under the car. She says the priest told her the accelerator just went.

Witnesses say the priest served at St. Maurice’s.


Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 2 months ago

The accelerator just went? Right, the man has not been driving long enough to know the gas pedal from the brake? I am not buying this, and I wonder how long he has been planning to do something like this. The accelerator is not going to depress on its own, no way. They don't give the name of the priest. I don't understand the rules on how they decide which names to give and which to withhold.

denak 9 years, 2 months ago

Accidents do happen. Don't be so quick to judge especially without knowing all the facts which, we clearly don't.

Tom McCune 9 years, 2 months ago

A little too much sacramental wine? Confused the brake pedal and the accelerator?

gccs14r 9 years, 2 months ago

Pedal error is a known cause of accidents. What's really bad is that once the car begins to accelerate instead of brake, the reaction of the driver tends to be to press harder on the pedal, rather than determine whether the correct one is being depressed. OTOH, if it was a Ford, it very well could have just taken off on its own.

costello 9 years, 2 months ago

My mom used to own a Taurus which would suddenly begin accelorating on its own. She'd have to jam on the brakes as hard as she could to bring it to a stop.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 2 months ago

I love how "irish" =hermione/cleo automatically blames the priest. she's supposed to be a devout catholic? not so much.

she apparently hasn't heard of "equipment failure," "driver error."

I'm so sorry to read that their Good Friday services were marred by this probable accident. perhaps the priest's name wasn't given to protect him from people like "irish"/hermione/cleo above.

one thing we know on here is when a poster starts collecting names, it is not a good sign, and it reflects a disregard for the site's Terms of Service.

expect more from Hermicleo soon. she's mostly outa the bag now.

Tom McCune 9 years, 2 months ago

I used to have a 98 Volvo. The mechanic told me that was the last year they had an actual mechanical link or cable between the gas pedal and the throttle. He said after that it was some kind of electronic gizmo linking the two. The Volvos I test drove after that always had a momentary lag between stepping on the gas pedal and the car actually accelerating. Call me old fashioned, but the simple mechanical linkage always seemed both more responsive and safer than the computer gizmo that could go on the blink and do who-knows-what to the throttle without warning....

Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 2 months ago

This is the report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"Five people leaving Good Friday services at a Forest Hills church were injured this afternoon, including a woman whose leg may have been severed, when a car driven by a priest lost control in a parking lot.

The accident occurred at St. Maurice Catholic Church on Ardmore Boulevard in Forest Hills.

Marcello Frollo, 49, a maintenance worker for the church, said he was outside when a Buick LeSabre driven by a priest identified as the Rev. Elmer Kacinko lurched forward into a group of people waiting to be picked up near the parking lot.

The car struck several people who were sheltered from the light rain on a patio with a roof. One had been sitting on a bench."

The fact that the driver was a priest is totally irrelevant to the discussion of the accident.

RoeDapple 9 years, 2 months ago

Many cars now do not have a direct cable link from the pedal to the fuel body, rather the accelerator is controlled by the on board computer. A malfunction of the computer can cause sudden acceleration and in fact several models of different manufacturers have been recalled due to this possibility. Certain "poster" has such a miserable life that said "poster" sees only the worst in everyone, and is best ignored, whatever name said "poster" is operating as today, yesterday or tomorrow.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 2 months ago

you idiot: The fact that the driver was a priest is totally irrelevant to the discussion of the accident.

your first post makes the driver's being a priest relevant. again, devout catholic, ... not so much.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 2 months ago

The pastor of a western Pennsylvania church says a retired priest is in a state of shock and in need of prayers after police and witnesses said he drove into a group of churchgoers following a Good Friday service, killing an elderly woman and injuring four other people.

Police and witnesses said the priest had just finished assisting with an afternoon service and was driving around to the entrance of the church when his car sped into a small group standing under a shelter.

The Rev. John W. Skirtich, pastor of St. Maurice Church in Forest Hills near Pittsburgh, said during services Friday night that 89-year-old Madeline Romell had died of her injuries five hours after the crash. Skirtich called it "a traumatic and frightening scene" and asked for prayers for all involved.

"Sometimes when you watch tragic things on TV, the mind intellectually understands that they've happened, and even on an emotional level," Skirtich said. "But when you see it personally right in front of you and you hear the screams and see the people suffering, it's a whole 'nother level of understanding."

Four others were hurt, but Forest Hills Mayor Ray Heller Jr. said their injuries weren't life-threatening.

Parishioner Angela Thomas, who helped tend to the injured, said the priest told her the car accelerated by itself.

"He told me the accelerator of his car went on its own and he could not stop the car," she said. "He's just the sweetest priest and a wonderful man. He's in shock. He's just devastated."

Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said his heart goes out to the injured and the priest.

(© 2009 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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