The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

March 7, 2014

Driver who crashed into house was drunk, police say

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

HERMITAGE — The driver of a car that crashed into a house Feb. 27 in Hermitage, has been charged with drunken driving and other offenses.

Darin J. Sagenich, 21, of 1410 Robertson Road, Hermitage, was eastbound on the Shenango Valley Freeway when the car went off the right side of the road, hitting a traffic sign and a utility pole, police said.

The car zoomed up an embankment, which launched it into the air, and it came down just before hitting the front west corner of the house at 1918 Shenango Valley Freeway.

A 14-month-old girl was sleeping in a crib next to the wall that was hit. The crib was pushed about a foot into the room by the impact, but the girl did not wake up. She was later taken to a hospital as a precaution and her mother said she was fine.

The crash ripped aluminum siding off the house, damaged the original wood siding, cracked studs and pushed in sections of drywall. It also shattered a bathroom window and threw a section of utility pole onto the house’s roof.

The car caught fire, which was put out by a policeman using an extinguisher from his cruiser, police said.

Hermitage firefighters removed Sagenich from the car, and he was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital.

Sagenich was initially uncooperative with paramedics, pulling intravenous tubes from his arms, police said, but eventually calmed down so he could be transported.

Police charged Sagenich with drunken driving based on a paramedic saying that Sagenich smelled of alcohol, his slurred speech and the circumstances of the crash. At the hospital, Sagenich repeatedly said words to the effect that he had messed up, police said.

A blood sample was taken from Sagenich, the results of which have not come back, and it appears possible Sagenich’s attorney could make a legal argument questioning its validity.

Police said they were not able to have the sample collected within two hours of crash, as the law requires, because of his transport to the hospital. Hospital personnel also noted that IV fluids he had received might have prevented the taking of a sample accurately reflecting how much alcohol was in his system, police said.

Police also charged Sagenich with accident involving damage to property while not properly licensed, driving under suspension, reckless driving and driving without a seat belt.

Sagenich was sent a summons to appear at 10:15 a.m. April 1 in Mercer County District Court, Farrell, for arraignment and a preliminary hearing.