Victim In Critical Condition, Unable To Provide Statement To State Police


NORTH UNION TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A Fayette County man claims his girlfriend jumped out of a moving vehicle Sunday, but police believe she was pushed.

Pennsylvania State Police say they were sent to the off-ramp of State Route 119 and Route 51 in North Union Township after receiving a 911 call.

When they arrived, they found Pamela Smithberger lying face down in the road.

Smithberger allegedly had a broken neck, broken back, two collapsed lungs and broken ribs, and she was covered with scrapes and cuts.

According to court records, a crowd had gathered at the scene. Smithberger’s boyfriend, 52-year-old Mark DeFrank, was among the crowd and his truck was nearby. Troopers began to ask DeFrank questions, and he eventually admitted Smithberger was his girlfriend.

Mark DeFrank (Photo Courtesy: Pamela Smithberger/Facebook)

“They did speak with Mr. DeFrank. [He] basically said that this was stemming from a domestic dispute they had while in the vehicle,” Trooper Robert Broadwater said. “According to Mr. DeFrank, it’s alleged that she jumped out of the vehicle on her own while the vehicle was in motion.”

Investigators have some questions about DeFrank’s story, however.

“[The investigation]’s still ongoing. Once we’re able to get a statement from [Smithberger], which she’s not able to provide at this time, then the investigation will proceed,” Broadwater said.

DeFrank has been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and DUI. He is free on bond awaiting his preliminary hearing.

Smithberger is at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. She was last listed in critical condition.