Pittsburgh police on Thursday identified the driver whose van struck and killed a pregnant woman sitting in a North Side pharmacy parking lot.
Authorities said Allan Massie, 88, of the North Side pulled the van into a handicapped space shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday near the front of the Rite Aid at the corner of Brighton Road and Pennsylvania Avenue. His van jumped the curb where Jodie Guthrie, 30, of the North Side had been either squatting or sitting, pinning Guthrie against the wall for about 30 seconds. Witnesses urged a confused Massie to back up, police said.
“He wasn’t going fast at all; he was just pulling in slowly,” said Pittsburgh Police Lt. Daniel Herrmann, noting the parking space had no concrete stopper other than the curb. “He gave it some gas to pull up to where he thought he should have pulled in and gave it a little too much.”
Guthrie — who was nearly 36 weeks pregnant with a baby boy — died in the emergency room at 4:14 p.m., according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Guthrie’s family members declined to comment. Messages left with a member of Massie’s family were not returned.
Police held Massie briefly for questioning before releasing him Wednesday evening, Herrmann said. The investigation remains open while crash reconstruction specialists and homicide detectives complete a vehicle inspection and interview family members, Herrmann said. It’s up to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office to decide whether to file charges.
“But there was no reason to hold him,” Herrmann said. “It’s an accident until it’s proven not.”
Doctors at Allegheny General Hospital performed an emergency cesarean section to save the life of the infant, who was moved to the neonatal unit at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in Lawrenceville.
UPMC spokeswoman Susan Manko said the hospital would not release information about the child’s condition, which police said was stable but critical late Wednesday.
Guthrie grew up in Smithfield, Fayette County, and attended Albert Gallatin Area Senior High School in Uniontown, according to her Facebook page, which was filled with posts that provided a glimpse into her excitement about having a baby.
Natasha Lindstrom is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8514 or [email protected].