Man charged in Indiana County gas station fatal crash |

Man charged in Indiana County gas station fatal crash

Emergency crews respond after a car crashes into a gasoline pump, igniting a fire on Thursday, July 5, 2018, at a service station in Rayne Township, Indiana County.
Emergency crews respond after a car crashes into a gasoline pump, igniting a fire on Thursday, July 5, 2018, at a service station in Rayne Township, Indiana County.

Pennsylvania state police have charged a man with multiple felonies in connection with a fiery crash at an Indiana County gas station that killed a Commodore woman Thursday afternoon.

James Eugene Brown, 33, no permanent residence, was taken into custody at Pikel’s Top Tier Fuels in Rayne Township and charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI, homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI and 12 other charges.

Brown, identified by police as the driver of the 2003 Subaru Outback, is being held in the Indiana County Jail and awaits arraignment before District Judge Susanne V. Steffee.

State police believe Brown crashed into two gas pumps and the gas station building where Melissa Ann Myers, 52, was working about 1:18 p.m. Thursday. The building at the intersection of state routes 119 and 85 burst into flames, trapping Myers inside.

She was declared dead at the scene, and an autopsy was scheduled.

Funeral arrangements were being handled by the Robinson-Lytle Funeral Home in Indiana.

State police took Brown into custody at the scene and identified him as the driver after conducting interviews, a news release said. He was treated for minor injuries at Indiana Regional Medical Center.

A second occupant was sought by police after fleeing on foot north along Route 119.

State police identified the passenger as Michael A. White, 32, of Punxsutawney. He was taken into custody later in the day in Punxsutawney by borough police.

White was treated for minor injuries at Punxsutawney Hospital and released. He was released from police custody with no charges pending.

The car was destroyed and the building had “significant damage,” said Trooper Cliff Greenfield, public information officer for state police Troop A at the Indiana County barracks.

According to Indiana County Coroner Jerry Overman and police, the car failed to negotiate a curve, struck a curb, went into the parking lot and struck the pumps before hitting the front wall of the building with its passenger side. The car came to rest outside the building, Greenfield said.

Traffic was shut down for several hours on Route 85 and was restricted on Route 119 as firefighters from Marion Center, Plumville and Clymer doused the flames and police investigated.

Brown also was charged with two counts of DUI, three counts of driving under suspension, careless driving, reckless driving and making false reports.

State police have asked that anyone who witnessed the crash contact the Indiana County barracks at 724-357-1960.

Stephen Huba and Jeff Himler are Tribune-Review staff writers.

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