The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 4, 2008

Investigation continues into fatal accident

NICKTOWN — State police accident reconstructionists have been called to investigate Friday’s fatal crash that killed a former Northern Cambria school board member.

Sgt. William Bonin, a trooper at the Ebensburg-based state police barracks, said a definite cause has not yet been determined, and it “could be a while” before a final report is issued.

Michael Paronish, 42, of Northern Cambria, was pronounced dead at the scene by Dr. Scott Magley, medical command physician. The cause of death was attributed to head and neck injuries, Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said.

The crash occurred shortly before noon on Route 271, Nicktown Hill Road, in Barr Township. Paronish’s 2007 Ford Escape collided with a coal truck driven by Shawn Rummel.

Bonin said Paronish’s vehicle has been impounded while troopers from Greensburg continue their investigation into the cause of the crash.

According to an initial state police report, Rummel lost control of a 2005 Peterbilt owned by Tom Ritchey Transport Inc. of Northern Cambria. Numerous car crashes were reported to Cambria County’s department of emergency services early Friday as a result of slick roads brought on by a storm of rain, sleet, ice and snow.

Police said Rummel lost control of the truck as he was traveling north on Nicktown Hill Road, striking Paronish’s vehicle and causing it to roll over.

Rummel continued a chain-reaction crash, striking a 2004 Dodge truck driven by Michael Warfield, 52.

Neither Rummel, Warfield, nor Paronish’s 19-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter were seriously injured in the crash.

Rummel was wearing a seat belt, police said; they did not mention if the others were.

Paronish was a self-employed excavator and owner of Alternative Demolition. He was a 1984 graduate of Northern Cambria High School and served as a member of the board of directors until choosing not to seek re-election in 2007.

He was also an active participant of Northern Cambria wrestling and football programs, where he served as a volunteer coach.

Moriconi Funeral Home Inc. of Northern Cambria is in charge of arrangements.

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