West Alexander mother waives endangerment case to court

April 29, 2014

A West Alexander woman charged by Donegal Township police with endangering the welfare of children after her 4-year-old daughter reportedly fell out a moving pickup truck last November in Donegal Township waived her case to court Tuesday.

Kelly Frances Keaveney, 39, also faces several traffic violations in connection with the Nov. 14 incident on Route 40 near Lake Road. She was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the charges before District Judge Ethan Ward.

When police arrived at the scene, the girl was on the ground with what officers described as severe head injuries and significant blood loss as well as the loss of feeling to her lower extremities. She was flown to Children’s Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh for treatment.

A witness told police he saw the truck traveling west at a high rate of speed when he saw the driver lose control. Something came out of the vehicle as it was moving. The witness did not realize it was a child until a safety seat fell onto the road.

Keaveney reportedly told Sgt. Ronald Catrain Jr., who filed the charges, and Officer Jeremy Rush that she knew the truck was not safe and only used it to go to the grocery store. The mother of two other children also reportedly told them she does not like to put them in the truck.

Catrain indicated in court documents that a safety inspection was done on the pickup truck by Trooper Todd Stephenson, an accident reconstruction specialist and a state police maintenance mechanic.

It showed both the driver and passenger door did not securely latch shut. The floor boards of the truck were rusted out to the point the road could be seen. Seat belts also were not working properly. The mechanic said the vehicle should never have passed inspection.

“The vehicle should not have been on the road,” Catrain said.

Keaveney’s attorney, John Puskar, said station where the truck was inspected is under investigation by state police. Keaveney only had the truck for a few weeks and purchased it after the seller assured her it was safe and had been inspected. Keaveney also told Puskar that the seat belts had been working. Puskar said she is now relying on others for transportation.

Catrain said he has not had contact with the girl since the crash but understands she is doing well. Puskar said the girl may have to have additional surgery to remove scars.

Ward allowed Keaveney to remain free on a $25,000 unsecured bond.

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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