Man arrested in Westmoreland County crash that killed a passenger

WESTMORELAND CITY, Pa. — A Westmoreland City man was arrested Wednesday on homicide by vehicle charges after state police said it was reported he was speeding prior to an August 2020 crash in Hempfield that killed a passenger, according to court documents.

Nick M. Rossi, 34, of Greensburg, was being held in the Westmoreland County Prison on $25,000 bail. Passenger Lucinda Jones, 41, of Finleyville, died at a hospital from blunt force trauma to the trunk.

Troopers were called to Arona Road at 10 p.m. on August 30 after a car crashed into a tree. Two people were extricated — Rossi from the driver’s seat and Jeffrey D. Jones from the passenger seat, police said.

Lucinda Jones told troopers she had chest pains but was otherwise able to communicate and provided authorities with biographical information about herself and her husband. They were friends with Rossi.

While he was being extricated, Rossi told police he had used marijuana and took a few shots of whiskey earlier in the day, according to a criminal complaint. A witness told police she saw the car speeding just before the crash.

Jeffrey Jones later told investigators that the car was destined for his home after the group visited Rossi’s residence. Rossi was said to be irritated with Lucinda and Jeffrey Jones. Jeffrey told investigators he thought Rossi was speeding and driving recklessly on purpose, according to police.

Jones said he hadn’t heard from Rossi since the crash.

Both Jeffrey and Lucinda Jones were hospitalized. Lucinda Jones died at AHN Forbes Hospital in Monroeville about 90 minutes after the crash, police said.

She attended First Evangelical Free Church in McKeesport and loved all animals, according to her obituary.

Rossi is charged with homicide by vehicle, reckless endangerment and summary offenses. It was unclear from the criminal complaint if he was hurt in the crash. A preliminary hearing is set for June 24.