SHARON TRAGEDY UPDATE | 3 killed, 4 injured, one released after treatment


Three people are dead, including two Sharon High School football players, and four other people were injured in a head-on crash between the SUV containing four high school football players and a pickup truck on a slight bend in the Shenango Valley Freeway, just west of the Oakland Avenue Viaduct at 10:05 p.m. Friday.

The deceased football players, Cory Swartz, 18, the SUV driver, and Evan Gill, 17, both of Sharon and both high school seniors, were pronounced dead at the scene by Mercer County Coroner Brad McGonigle.

Injured passengers in the SUV were twins, Craig and Gregg Osman, 17, of Sharon, both also seniors and football team members. They were taken to Sharon Regional Health System, then to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, where they underwent surgery.

The pickup truck driver, John Zdelar Jr., 50, of Brookfield, was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m. at Sharon Regional.

Evan Wallace, 10, of Brookfield, a pickup truck passenger, was taken to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, and the other passenger in that vehicle, Blake Yenderak, 12, of Brookfield, was treated and released at Sharon Regional.

Preliminary indications show that the SUV crossed the median strip and hit the pickup truck, but do not indicate that alcohol, drugs or texting were factors in the crash, according to Michael J. Menster, Sharon police chief.

The football players were returning from watching a playoff game at the Hickory High School stadium, Menster said in a news release.

Firefighters extricated victims from both vehicles.

Ambulances transported some victims to local hospitals, and medical helicopters landed at the Sharon High School stadium to transport other victims.

The road was closed until 3:30 a.m.

Assisting Sharon police and firefighters at the scene were a Brookfield Fire Department rescue truck, Hermitage and Southwest Regional police, Sharon Street Department personnel, PennDOT and Sharon school officials.

School officials said they are making grief counselors available for those needing to speak to them.

The football playoff game that had been scheduled between Sharon and Girard, Pa., high schools for Saturday afternoon was rescheduled to 7 p.m. Monday at Erie Veterans Stadium.

Saturday, 2 p.m. update:

Sharon Athletic Director Paul C. Torr Sr. confirms, after school administrators and coaching staff met with the high school football team's seniors, that they want to play the game. It will be Monday at 7 p.m. at Erie Veterans Stadium.

"The family of one of the boys felt it was important and wanted us to play."

"We just decided we didn't want to end the season that way."

He identified the deceased football players as Evan Gill and Corey Swartz.


Original story, 9 a.m.

SHARON, Pa. - At least two Sharon High School seniors were killed in a two-vehicle accident shortly after 10 p.m. Friday night.

According to The Vindicator's news partner 21 WFMJ-TV, a car and a truck collided head-on at East Connelly Boulevard near the Elks Lodge and Route 62.

At least four Sharon high school football players were involved in the accident and two of them - both seniors - have died, 21 WFMJ-TV is reporting.

Others injured in the crash were flown to area hospitals. 

No names have been released.

Sharon was to play a playoff game this afternoon, but that game was canceled due to the accident.

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