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Intoxicated driver caused fatal Laughlintown wreck, authorities allege

Paul Peirce

A former Laughlintown man was under the influence of alcohol on Route 30 March 28 when his pickup truck plowed into a carload of teenagers returning from a Britney Spears concert and killed a 15-year-old boy, police allege.

The crash killed North Star High School freshman John Austin Blough, 15, of Speigle Road, Hollsopple, Somerset County.

Brandon G. Behie, 24, a former Laughlintown resident who lives on Ross Mountain Park Road in New Florence, was charged Friday with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, aggravated assault while driving under the influence, reckless endangerment, driving over the speed limit in a work zone, driving a vehicle without inspection and three counts of simple assault.

Behie was released by District Judge Denise Snyder Thiel on $50,000 unsecured bond.

The crash occurred along Route 30 in Laughlintown at a temporary red light that had been erected for a bridge construction project. Blough was returning from a concert at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.

Blough was a passenger in a westbound Chevrolet Lumina driven by Carley Tomko, 18, of 193 Front St., Hooverville, according to Ligonier Township police.

Her vehicle and a Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Rebecca Weimer, 48, of 527 Behm Road, Boswell, were stopped at the traffic signal at 1:39 a.m. when a Chevrolet Silverado driven by Behie, then 23, struck their cars from behind, police said.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by township police Officer Amber Noel, Behie's truck was traveling 32 mph in an area posted for 20 mph when he failed to stop at the red light and rear-ended the other vehicles.

Noel reported that Behie's blood-alcohol level was 0.189 percent. A driver is considered intoxicated in Pennsylvania at 0.08 percent. Police reported they found one empty beer can inside the truck and a half-empty bottle on the driver's side floorboard.

Noel said in the affidavit that when she arrived at the scene a man later identified as Behie, who had a head injury, was seated on the ground and was visibly upset.

Behie kept repeating, "I'm going to jail. I'm going to jail," the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, Noel asked Behie why he thought he was going to jail, and he replied that he was drinking and "wrecked into them."

Behie and Tomko were treated in UPMC Presbyterian.

Deputy Coroner Gerald Fritz pronounced Blough dead at the scene from multiple blunt-force trauma.

Blough played football and wrestled as a freshman at North Star. A memorial to him is still posted at the scene of the crash.

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