By ERIC SLAGLE Daily News StaffWriter
Emergency crews in Forward
Township have been busy of late. On
Thursday, they responded to two weather-related morning accidents on
Route 51, and in the afternoon were called to a gas line explosion along
Tunnel Hollow Road. The first accident was at 7:25 a.m. near Roberts
Hollow Road. Police Chief Tom Staley said Natalie Gilbert, 25, of Belle
Vernon, lost control of her vehicle, apparently due to snowy road
conditions, while she was traveling northbound on Route 51. She went off
the road and struck a guard rail, then went back into the roadway, where
her vehicle was hit by one driven by Jonathan Brooks, 19, of Scottsdale.
His vehicle then was struck by one driven by Terry King, 52, of Belle
Vernon. No one was injured in that incident.
A mail truck driver was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center a
few hours later after being involved in a second crash close by on Route
Korekach, 33, of Munhall, was steering his mail truck off the roadway at
about 11:20 a.m. when a vehicle driven b¥ Justin Wilson, 21, of Mt.
Braddock, hit the truck from behind. Police said it appears Wilson did
not see the truck leaving the roadway and failed to slow in time to
avoid the collision. Korekach was transported to Jefferson complaining
of neck pains. A few hours later, at 2:30 p.m., police and fire crews
were again called out, this time to a farm at 6400 Tunnel Hollow Rd., in
response to a caller hearing a loud explosion in that area. When crews
arrived they discovered an underground 10-inch gas line owned by
Dominion Gas had ruptured and blown a large hole in the ground. “It left
a crater. It blew dirt and stuff up over a tree,” said Staley. “I’m
going to say (it blew dirt) 700 yards up over the hill.” Tunnel Hollow
and Ella Hollow roads were closed for a time after the blast, the chief
said. Firefighters from Gallatin-Sunnyside, Bunola and Elizabeth borough
responded to the cal. The Allegheny County Fire Marshal was also on the
scene, Staley said. Staley said the cause of the explosion was unknown
as of Friday morning. The chief said the ruptured line did not result in
any residents losing gas service.