Man hit by rig survives apparent suicide try

January 8, 2013

A Washington man who apparently tried twice to commit suicide Tuesday morning was struck by a southbound tractor-trailer on Interstate 79 in Canonsburg, knocked out of his shoes and then got up and ran away.

The 22-year-old man had apparently left work shortly after arriving at a Canonsburg business about 8 a.m. State police said he climbed over the guardrail from an adjacent hillside and went on to the southbound shoulder of the highway at the bridge that crosses South Central before stepping in front of the rig in the right lane.

The driver tried to stop but hit the man, knocking him out of his shoes. The rig then passed over him, police said. He then jumped up, grabbed his shoes and jumped back over the guardrail. He slid down the hill to a nearby street and walked away. Canonsburg police found him back at his workplace.

Canonsburg police Sgt. James Spingola, who assisted state police, said that a co-worker had picked the man up earlier in the morning to take him to work and he said he did not want to live.

As they were driving north on I-79, he opened the door and jumped out. Spingola said the friend pulled over, but the man ran from him. Another driver picked him up and took him back to his friend, and they continued to work.

“He asked his friend not to tell their boss what happened,” Spingola said. “But when they got to work, the friend went in to tell the boss.”

The man then took off and ran up to the highway.

Also assisting were police from Chartiers and North Strabane townships.

The man was taken to Canonsburg General Hospital and then flown to a Pittsburgh hospital for additional treatment.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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