As survivors heal and police investigate, officials consider road upgrades

By Ed Runyan


Twin Sharon High School seniors who survived a deadly car crash Friday are improving and expected to survive, and both of the boys in the other vehicle are home from the hospital.

Sharon Police Chief Michael J. Menster said Monday that Craig and Gregg Osmon, 17, of Sharon, may need additional surgery as they recover at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown — but are “doing better.”

Evan Wallace, 10, and Blake Yenderak, 12, both of Brookfield, are both home, with Wallace being the second of the two to be released from the hospital.

The boys were passengers in a Chevrolet Silverado pickup driven by John Zdelar Jr., 50, of Brookfield, who died in the 10:05 p.m. Friday crash on East Connelly Boulevard, also known as U.S. Route 62 and Shenango Valley Freeway.

Cory Swartz, 18, of Sharon, driver of the Mazda sport utility vehicle, and Evan Gill, 17, of Sharon were pronounced dead at the scene. They and the Osmon brothers, all Sharon High football players, were together in the SUV that crossed the center line and struck Zdelar’s truck, police said.

Menster said it will be a couple of more days before police have a better picture of how fast the vehicles were traveling on the sloped and curved section of road just east of downtown and just west of the Oakland Avenue Viaduct.

He’s also not ready to release information on seat-belt use.

“It’s difficult to sort that out,” Menster said. “Some passers-by were trying to pull people out of the cars,” he said, so some things had been changed before officers arrived, he said.

Sharon police have talked to the Osmon brothers, and they gave helpful information about the crash, Menster said, adding he’ll release more information later. He has ruled out alcohol, drugs or texting as causes, he said.

The crash was on a section of road that has seen accidents in the past, Menster said.

“People tend to travel faster than the 40 mile-per-hour speed limit,” Menster said. There are curves just above and below the crash area, and there is no median to separate the uphill and downhill traffic.

City Manager Scott Andrejchak said he’s been city manager only two years and this is the first time in his administration there has been a serious crash there, but other officials say concerns about safety have prompted meetings in the past.

He wrote a letter Monday to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which is responsible for the road, to ask it to examine whether it should have a median or other safety feature.

“I’m not an engineer,” he said. “It’s PennDot’s choice. It’s their road.”

Calling hours for Corey Swartz will be from 4 to 8 p.m today at J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home, 1090 E. State St., Sharon. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph Church, 79 Case Ave., Sharon. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery, Hermitage, Pa.

Calling hours for Evan Gill will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at John Flynn Funeral Home and Crematory Inc., 2630 East State St., Hermitage. His funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Sharon Baptist Church. Burial will be Thursday at Hillcrest Memorial Park.

Calling hours for John Zdelar will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Lane Madasz Funeral Home, 6923 Warren-Sharon Road, Brookfield. Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Thursday. There will be a lunch afterward at the Brookfield Fire Department.

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