• Medical examiner: 5th Armstrong Co. crash victim dies


    SOUTH BEND, Pa. - A fifth person has died from injuries sustained in a horrific head-on crash Wednesday night in South Bend Township.

    Authorities said the two-vehicle crash was reported just before 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on Route 156 near Gobblers Run Road.

    Armstrong County Coroner Brian Myers said the 19-year-old driver, Brandon James Sulava, and two passengers, 18-year-old Brieyonah Marie Painter and 15-year-old Brandon Barr, in a Ford Mustang were killed.

    "He's our best friend, and losing him is the worst thing we could ever have happen.  He was always the one that kept us smiling," said Barr’s friend White.

    “He was an awesome kid.  We all loved him.  He was our Brandon,” said Barr’s family friend Melanie Shindledecker.

    Crystal Kay Kelley, 41, who was the driver of a Chevrolet Lumina, also died, and three passengers were flown to UPMC Presbyterian hospital in critical condition.

    The passengers were identified as 33-year-old Robert Edward Kelley, 34-year-old Kent Smith and 35-year-old Kristy Ann Schall.

    On Friday morning, Channel 11 News confirmed Smith, of Elderton, died.

    Coroner and Sheriff William Rupert told Channel 11’s Dave Bondy that the accident scene was hard to see.

    “The scene was horrific. It really was. It was one of the worst I have ever seen,” Myers said.

    “The debris field was scattered quite a distance,” Rupert said.

    State police are investigating the cause of the accident, but investigators believe speed may have played a role.

    “We believe this crash was due to high speed. One car crossed the center line and went over and hit the other car head on,” Myers said.

    Myers said toxicology tests will be done as standard procedure, but there was no obvious evidence that alcohol or drugs played a factor.

    “People need to slow down and pay attention. There are multiple things that cause accident, but speed has always been a factor,” Rupert said.

    Barr’s family shared this statement:

    “Brandon made everyone fall in love with him, whether it was with his smile or his beautiful laugh.  He will echo through us forever.”

    His family added it wants to pass along condolences to the other families affected by the tragedy.

    Barr's family has set up a fund at North Apollo Church of God:  P.O. Box 5 N. Apollo, PA 15673. Checks should be made payable to North Apollo Church of God, and Brandon Barr Fund should be on the memo line.

    A gofundme.com page has also been set up under Brandon "Bubba" Barr.

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