CARNEGIE, Pa. - The boyfriend of a 19-year-old woman who was killed after a tire landed on the roof of her car Tuesday morning along the Parkway West talked with Channel 11 News Thursday.
According to police, a Jeep Grand Cherokee was traveling on the Parkway West just before midnight Tuesday near the Carnegie exit when the car lost a tire, and it began bouncing down the interstate.
Officials said Katie Puwalowski’s car was traveling the opposite direction on the Parkway when the tire bounced over the concrete barrier and struck her car on the roof.
Puwalowski started to lose control of her car, and the front seat passenger, hey boyfriend Dean Graner, was forced to grab the steering wheel and bring the car to a stop.
“The roof caved in and it made a divider between the passenger and driver side of the car,” Graner said. “The windshield came flying at us because we were going interstate speeds. I was able to grab the wheel, shift us off the road and pull the emergency brake.”
Puwalowski was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital where she later died.
“I got out of the car, ran to her side and saw a big gash across the back of her head. I saw blood dripping into the cup holder,” Graner said. “I straightened out her airway and she started to breathe but I knew her neck was broken.”
Graner, 19, was briefly treated at the hospital and released.
“I was screaming and crying at first because something had just fallen out of the sky and of course the airbag didn’t explode,” Graner said. “I told her we’d get through this and that she was so beautiful. It wasn’t calm. I was screaming, ‘I love you. We’re going to get through this.’”
Graner said Puwalowski had just picked him up from Pittsburgh International Airport when the accident happened. She was a sophomore at Saint Vincent College.
“At some point our lives come to an end, and if there was any wish I had for Kat coming to the end of her life, I would've wanted her to be happy, laughing and smiling,” Graner said.
A college spokesman released a statement saying, "It is with deep sorrow that we learned today of the tragic death of Saint Vincent College sophomore Katie M. Puwalowski of Pittsburgh, as a result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident last night. Katie was the daughter of Walter Puwalowski and Dawn Kwiatkowski, and a June 2011 graduate of North Catholic High School.
We extend our prayers and sympathy to her family and friends and others who knew and loved her. Our Campus Ministers and counselors in the Wellness Center are available for our students and anyone who needs support."
The driver of the Jeep, 18-year-old David Praskovich, wasn’t injured.