DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – A recent high school graduate was killed in a crash after hitting a deer in Westmoreland County.
The Westmoreland County Coroner says 18-year-old Damian Bearley was driving south on Route 982 in Derry Township early Saturday morning when he hit a deer, crossed the road, then hit a tree or utility pole. He was pronounced dead at 4:45 a.m.READ MORE: South Side Residents Fed Up With Violence, But Weary On New Restrictions
Carl Jellison lives just a few yards up from where the accident happened.
“I was sleeping, I heard a noise and I could tell it was a vehicle,” said Jellison.
The coroner says speed is believed to be a factor in the crash and Bearley wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
“I didn’t see anything, then I heard the fire trucks and ambulances coming,” Jellison said.READ MORE: State Police In Kittanning Searching For Arson Suspect Following Reported Domestic Incident
A 16-year-old girl who was a passenger in the vehicle survived but was injured.
According to the state, in 2020 there were more than 4,000 crashes involving deer and automobiles with seven people dying as a result.
“Almost all the time you gotta watch for them. They’ll be out eating and stuff and you gotta watch for deer all the time on this road here, it’s pretty common,” Jellison said.
He says this is a sad replay of a tragedy from a few years back.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Police Investigate Shooting On Same Night South Side Traffic Pattern Began
“There was a person who died 8 to 10 years ago in the same spot. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but he hit the same tree in the same area,” said Jellison.