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Driver held in death of boy, 7, in New Castle

Published: Tue, November 27, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.





By Jeanne Starmack


New Castle, PA.

A driver accused of running down two children in a New Castle, PA., yard Sunday remains in jail with no bond while witnesses recall details of the horrific accident.

Octavius Stone, 7, of 939 Winslow Ave., was killed next door to his home on a set of concrete steps in front of 941 Winslow. His playmate, Emil Osbourne Velez, 9, of Volant, Pa., was visiting his grandmother there.

Emil was taken by helicopter from Jameson Hospital to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh after the 2:15 p.m. accident. His injuries are not life-threatening, and he was expected to be released soon, his grandmother, Barbara Brown, said Monday.

Police charged Virgil Eldon Coonfare, 66, of Beckford Street in New Castle, with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, driving under the influence of a controlled substance and aggravated assault by a vehicle while driving under the influence.

New Castle Police Chief Robert Salem said Coonfare was taken to Jameson Hospital, where he refused a blood test. Police obtained a warrant to draw blood and are waiting for results, he said.

Salem said Coonfare was charged based on probable cause.

A Pennsylvania State Police drug-recognition expert told New Castle police that Coonfare was under the influence of a central nervous system depressant and a narcotic analgesic, a police report indicates.

Neighbors David Moffatt and Maria Brown, who live across the street from where the accident happened, said Monday that they were outside about to go somewhere and they witnessed the children being run over.

“I saw a yellow truck,” Brown said. “I heard tires squeal. He was up in the yard and floored it.”

After the boys were run down, Coonfare kept driving and Moffatt chased him. Coonfare stopped his truck after hitting a bush in a yard several houses down the street, Moffatt said.

When Coonfare got out of his truck, he was wearing only one shoe and one sock, Moffatt said.

“He was stumbling and slurring and had no idea where he was,” Moffatt said.

Barbara Brown said she heard the accident and came outside in time to see Octavius, who was lying on the steps, pick up his head and look toward her.

She didn’t understand what had happened, thinking at first that the child was playing a game, she said. Maria Brown was already on her way up the steps to tell her what had happened, she said.

Emil, whose leg was injured, way lying on an embankment near the steps, Maria Brown said.

Maria Brown said that Emil did not appear to be seriously injured, so she stayed with Octavius.

She said she knew from CPR training that she should not move him.

“I was rubbing his back and said it would be OK,” she recalled. “He was in a fetal position on the steps. I kept telling him it was all right until the ambulance got there.”

“I watched him take his last breath,” she said.

Barbara Brown said her grandson and Octavius were good friends since Octavius’ family moved next door 13 months ago.

She said her grandson told her he saw the truck coming, and he tried to get his friend out of harm’s way but could not.

“His mother said he had nightmares all night,” she said.


1Crazygal(6 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

This is senseless, and my prayers go out to both families. It is a damn shame when children can't play outside in the afternoon without being hit by a vehicle, or shot..this country is stuck on giving rights to the wrong people. Where were their rights to play and be safe? This disgusting dirtbag got in his truck knowing full well he wasn't capable of driving safe and in broad daylight kills an innocent child and alters the life of the other boy's life. The courts are going to go easy on him like usual, when will the criminals lose their rights and the victims and their families get their civil rights? Will people be considerate of others on the road and stop being about themselves, passing people dangerously, speeding and acting recklessly. Peoples lives are more important than hurting or killing someone. Drinking and driving responsibly, although it is usually the repeat offenders who run innocent people down..please think about the right thing before more lives get hurt. I am sorry for your loss. God bless.

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2DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Does this dirtbag have a record? Are there people who know him that knew he drove impaired? There has to be a way to stop these people from driving.

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3steelwagon(284 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I will guarantee you this goddamn idiot was on xanax.
Can't speak,no idea where he was,staggering around......

An innocent child is dead because this dirtbag wanted to get stupid on xanax and drive.
I hope they hang this useless son of a bitch !!

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