Monday, November 30, 2015

1 dead, 4 hurt in car crash after stop for pizza

The five friends were heading home in Northampton Township, Lower Bucks County, om Saturday afternoon, when their car crashed into a pole and a tree, poliec said.

1 dead, 4 hurt in car crash after stop for pizza


Police are looking to interview four survivors of a weekend car crash that killed their 19-year-old Ivyland friend, to help determine the cause of the accident, Northampton Township Chief Barry Pilla said Monday.      

“We haven’t talked to them because of their injuries,” Pilla said.

“They were just a bunch of guys who went out for pizza.”

Killed in the crash Saturday was Cameron Smithwick, 19, who was a passenger in the white Monte Carlo SS, Pilla said.  

The cause of death was multiple injuries, Bucks County Coroner Dr. Joseph Campbell said after completing the autopsy Monday. Smithwick sustained severe head trauma and multiple fractures and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“This is every parent’s nightmare,” Campbell said, “I have three teenagers myself.”

Injured were Monroe Leonard Tanner IV, 18, of Ivyland; and Louis Piotti, 17, Matthew Slade, 18, and Daniel Harris, 17, all of Holland, police  said.

Piotti, Slade and Harris were discharged from St. Mary Medical Center by Monday morning, a spokewoman said. There was no information available about Tanner, the spokeswoman said.

Tanner may have been the driver, and Smithwick may have been a passenger in the front seat, Pilla said.

A member of Tanner family that operates the landmark Tanner Bros. Dairy farm market in Ivyland and a staffer declined to provide the victim’s relationship to the owners.

The men were heading home at 1:50 p.m. when the car ran off Old Jacksonville Road, a two-lane country road between Ridge Way and Sackettsford Road, police said. The car hit a utility pole and then a tree.

The car was so mangled that Pilla could not identify the make from a photo.

“It’s a wonder that any of them were able to get out of it,” he said.

Firefighters had to cut off the car roof and a door to get the driver out.    

Authorities could not say whether any of the men were wearing seatbelts.

Officer Joseph Rosowski, an accident reconstuction expert, was investigating the crash. Police asked anyone with information about the crash to call Rosowski at 215-322-6111.

At Council Rock North and South High Schools, counselors were available to help students deal with the accident, according to a statement by Superintendent Mark Klein.  It was not clear whether the men were students  or recent graduates.

The police chief called the accident “a horrible tragedy.”

“There is no good time for a tragedy,” Pilla said, “but right before the holidays,” it’s especially hard to deal with.

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About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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