Man flown to hospital, landlord faces charges

September 11, 2013
Sandra Sue Vrabel

CARMICHAELS – A Cumberland Township man was taken by helicopter to UPMC-Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh Tuesday evening after he was allegedly run over by a car driven by his landlord.

The condition of Matthew Thorpe, 39, of 901 Route 88 South, Carmichaels, was not released. According to a criminal complaint filed with Magisterial District Judge Lou Dayich, Sandra Sue Vrabel, 67, of 1189 Walnut Hill Road, intentionally ran over Thorpe.

Vrabel is charged with aggravated assault, accidents involving death or personal injury, aggravated assault by vehicle, two counts of terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, harassment with physical contact, backing up a vehicle improperly, reckless driving and failing to stop and give information or to render aid.

Court documents indicate Thorpe and Vrabel have been involved in an ongoing dispute over the residence on Route 88 South.

According Thorpe’s wife, Ruthanne Redman Thorpe, her husband came into their residence asking for a cellphone because Vrabel allegedly threatened to blow his head off. Ruthanne Thorpe told police she followed her husband outside where he told Vrabel to repeat the threat she had just made.

Ruthanne Thorpe said she saw Vrabel get into her car and heard her husband say he was going to call 911. He then walked toward the rear passenger’s side of Vrabel’s Chevy Cruz and flipped open the cellphone to take a photograph of Vrabel’s license plate number, Ruthanne said.

It was then, according to the criminal complaint, that Vrabel looked back, slammed her vehicle into reverse and turned the steering wheel so the vehicle would travel in the direction of Thorpe and hit the gas.

Ruthanne Thorpe told police she saw Vrabel’s car hit her husband’s inner hip and thigh before he went under the tire while screaming, “Please God don’t.” She alleged Vrabel then placed the car in drive, pulled forward over Thorpe, looked back again and placed the car in reverse a second time.

Ruthanne Thorpe told police she smacked the window and told Vrabel, “Don’t do this.” She said Vrabel then put the vehicle into drive and said, “I’m going to blow all your heads off,” before driving south on Route 88.

According to the complaint, a neighbor, Yvonne Rnea Kurcaba, told police she heard tires squealing, exited her residence and saw Thorpe lying in the grass.

Police said they observed a blue Chevy Cruz with slight damage on the rear passenger side parked near Vrabel’s Smithfield residence when they went there to arrest her.

She made the $25,000 bond and was released from Greene County jail. A perliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 20 before Dayich.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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