A prominent Pittsburgh doctor was killed in a car crash over the weekend.
Susan Vecchione, 44, had worked at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh since 2004. She worked in the hospital's Children's Cleft-Craniofacial Center. Vecchione was also assistant professor of plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and at the School of Dental Medicine. Her research focused on facial muscles in children.
The car accident that killed Vecchione occurred when she was headed east on Interstate 70 in Ohio. She was slowing to approach a construction zone when a tractor-trailer behind her rear-ended her Mini Cooper. The impact forced Vecchione's car into the vehicle in front of her, which in turn rear-ended another vehicle.
Vecchione was killed on impact and the woman in the car in front of her was injured.
The driver of the truck that hit Vecchione, a 53-year-old Alabama man, submitted to a toxicology screening but would not speak to police at the scene. A spokesman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the driver may face a charge of vehicular homicide in connection with the incident.
It is a sad occasion any time someone is hurt or killed in a car accident. This may be an especially sad event, however, given that Vecchione clearly did a lot of good for children and would probably have contributed much more to the field.
Pittsburgh drivers should take this sad case and use it as a reminder to use caution in construction zones. That includes not only taking care yourself, but making sure as best you can that other drivers around you are aware of what is going on. Ideally, they would be driving responsibly, too, but that is not always assured and sometimes you have to adjust your own course of action in response to someone else's carelessness.
Source: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Children's orthodontics director dies in car crash," Moriah Balingit, Aug. 10, 2011