The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

July 18, 2014

Onlooker, 87, hit by Aqua truck, dies

Cause of death remains part of probe

HERMITAGE — Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. extended condolences to the family of a Hermitage man who died after being struck by one of its trucks on Tuesday.

Hermitage police identified the victim as James Ulan, 87, of 849 Richmond Drive.

After The Herald learned of the fatality Thursday, Hermitage police released information later Thursday. The release said the Aqua utility truck, driven by Walter Yourema, 60, of 3310 Lamor Road, Hermitage, at 12:29 p.m. Tuesday, was parked on the road facing north in front of Ulan’s residence on the west side of the road next to a dump truck with an attached trailer.

Yourema told police he put the truck in reverse, which activated an audible warning signal. He said he checked all mirrors before backing up slowly to the south and made it only a few feet before he heard a thump.

When Yourema got out of the truck and found Ulan lying on the road behind the truck, he asked Ulan if he had been sitting on the bumper of the truck and Ulan responded that he was, Yourema told police.

Police said Ulan was conscious, alert and was propping himself up after the accident, but required transport to the hospital of Sharon Regional Health System for treatment for what was believed to be an apparent ankle injury.

At about 3:30 p.m., Ulan was flown to the trauma center of St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, where he died a short time later, police said.

Police said the cause of death has not been determined and the accident has not been classified as a traffic fatality at this time.

Hermitage police are working with the Mahoning County Coroner’s office and the accident remains under investigation.

In an interview Lisa Runyan, a neighbor, said she was in and out of her house and saw Ulan lying or sitting down at the end of his driveway in the morning. This occurred while water company employees worked to repair an apparent water main break at the house next door.

Runyan said she saw Ulan sitting in the road, his legs in his driveway, just before the truck hit him.

“He’s always there pulling weeds or pushing stones up, laying in the road,” Runyan said. “Sometimes he sits in the road or driveway.”

Runyan said she had just gone inside and heard Ulan, a neighbor of 21 years, scream and ran back outside. She said the driver was “pretty distraught.”

“I asked the other guy (another Aqua employee), ‘Did he hit him with the truck?’ And he shook his head, ‘yes,’ ” Runyan said.

Through tears, she described hearing her neighbor moaning in pain.

Runyan said Ulan was always nice to her family, and seemed to have developed some sort of memory loss over the past few years.

Ulan’s son, Marc, caretaker for his parents, said he was inside the home at the time of the incident and when he came out, his father was being loaded onto an ambulance.

In a statement Aqua said it was cooperating fully with police in the investigation. A company spokesman declined further comment.


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