Busy Penn Hills roadway reopens after violent early-morning crash

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PITTSBURGH - A busy Penn Hills roadway was shut down Friday morning after a man running from police crashed into a utility pole.

Emergency dispatchers said Allegheny River Boulevard near Nadine Road was closed for several hours while crews worked to make repairs. The roadway reopened around 11:15 a.m.

Officials said the incident began when police were chasing a driver in Homewood. Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard said officers attempted to pull the driver over for driving without his headlights on. After stopping briefly, Richard said the driver took off.

Investigators said they called off the chase but the driver involved continued to flee at a high rate of speed and that's when he crashed into the pole.

"They came across the vehicle after the crash because the crash had occurred already and they eliminated their pursuit. We don't believe the city pursuit had anything to do with this crash," Penn Hills police Chief Howard Burton said.

Police identified the driver as Richard Dopico, 38, of Penn Hills. Investigators said he suffered critical injuries in the crash and is on life-support.

"He hit a telephone pole, crossed the roadway, went onto a guide rail, struck a tree and continues on top of the guide rail for 50 feet before coming to rest," said Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton.

 Burton said the crash is one of the most violent his department has investigated.

It was not immediately clear what charges Dopico may face.