PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A woman who crashed through the gates of the Allegheny Cemetery was found guilty today.
At 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, all was calm at the Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville until a car driven by a New Year’s Eve drunk driver crashed through cast-iron gate, shattering the structure and totaling the vehicle.
The 25-year-old operator, D’anne Olivis, was taken to the hospital. But miraculously neither she nor her passengers were seriously injured.
“Miss Olivis is very lucky to be alive as this gate splintered into hundreds of pieces,” said David Michener, of Allegheny Cemetery. “Anyone of those could have gone through her windshield.”
Wednesday in court, Olivis pled guilty to her second offense for driving under influence before Judge Joseph Williams, who sentenced her to 180 days house arrest and gave her a tongue lashing.
“You drank and crashed into a cemetery gate that has so much emotional symbolism for the families and those buried there. That’s their final place. You wanted to drink and you wanted to do what you wanted at other people’s expense,” said Williams.
Those thoughts are echoed by Michener, the cemetery’s president and CEO. He said the loss of the historic gate has been a devastating blow.
“It truly has a great emotional impact to the community, to the people who work here and the people at rest here,” he said.
The night surveillance tape shows that Olivis was travelling so fast she basically pulverized the iron gate, making it impossible for the cemetery to reconstruct it out of its original parts.
“It was splintered into too many pieces,” said Michener. “We did try to piece it together, but it was proven ineffective, so we did have to have a total replacement made.”
Williams ordered Olivis to make $5,000 restitution, but that will only cover a fraction of the cost. Replacing the gate will cost $65,000, which the cemetery hopes her insurance will cover.