Woman, infant still hospitalized after fatal crash

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A woman and her infant daughter remained hospitalized Thursday after the fatal head-on crash along Route 18 in Morris Township that killed two drivers Wednesday night.


Katherine Breese, 30, of North Franklin Township, was listed in critical condition at UPMC-Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh after she was injured when a sport-utility vehicle crashed into the vehicle she was riding in about 6:40 p.m.


Her 8-month-old daughter also was injured and was taken to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Authorities declined to release the girl’s name and condition, although she is expected to survive.


“It appears she’s going to be OK,” state police Trooper Joe Ross said.


Ross said investigators are awaiting toxicology results as they try to determine why Shari Cox, 46, of Morris Township, lost control and crashed into the vehicle carrying the Breese family.


Cox was pronounced dead at the scene, while Stephen Breese, 28, of North Franklin, died at Washington Hospital shortly after the crash, police said.


Both died of multiple blunt-force injuries, police said, and neither appeared to be wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Katherine Breese was wearing a seat belt, and her daughter was properly restrained in a car seat, police said.


Ross said the results from toxicology tests performed during Cox’s autopsy late Thursday night could be available in one or two weeks. He did not know if drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash.


An autopsy on Breese also was scheduled for Thursday night.


Cox was traveling north on Route 18 near Conklin Lane when she crossed the center line for unknown reasons and crashed into the other vehicle traveling south. The impact flipped Cox’s SUV onto its passenger side and spun it around.


The other vehicle driven by Breese also spun around and came to rest in the middle of the road. The crash caused heavy damage to the front driver’s side of that SUV.


Route 18 was closed between Conklin Lane and Bethel Church Road for three hours while police investigated the crash and emergency crews removed the wreckage.


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