New Castle News

Local News

December 10, 2012

Photo Gallery, Story: Boy recalls fatal accident with sadness

NEW CASTLE — A recent tragedy at times still envelops young Ozzy Velez in sadness and nightmares.

But the Nov. 25 accident that snuffed out the life of his best friend, 7-year-old Octavius Stone, and almost claimed his own life has shown him a community’s generosity.

The 9-year-old Volant boy has a bandaged upper leg, wears a brace and uses a walker so he doesn’t strain stitches in his knee and groin areas.

A six-inch-round black scab on his thigh is one of the  painful abrasions he suffered when 66-year-old Virgil Coonfare of 920 Beckford St. drove his three-quarter-ton pickup truck into a yard where the two boys were playing on Winslow Avenue that Sunday afternoon.

The truck struck both boys, killing Octavius and sending Ozzy airborne. A tire mark imprinted on his stomach, but he suffered no broken bones or internal injuries.

Ozzy lives in a mobile home with his mother, Nataly, on Georgetown Road. After a night of bad dreams Tuesday, he stayed home from school and slept on their couch with his chihuahua, Shorty, surrounded by balloons, teddy bears and gifts from his classmates and teacher at New Wilmington Elementary School, neighbors and friends.

His white “Octavius Stone Memorial Walk” T-shirt was from a vigil held in his friend’s memory.

A drive at Cascade Park last night benefited the Velez family.

Ozzy talked about being a Notre Dame fan and wanting to play on the Fighting Irish football team someday. He spoke of the accident, saying he’s feeling better but has pent-up energy from nurturing his injuries.

And overall, he feels sad, he said.


“We were walking down the steps to go outside and Octavius was by my left side,” he said, giving his account of the tragedy.

Octavius was munching on cheese puffs.

“We were going to go over by my uncle’s truck,” Ozzy said, when Coonfare’s truck went up the embankment and hit them.

“It scooped us up and threw us in the air. Then the whole neighborhood came over, from down the street, up the street and from a few miles,” Ozzy said of people who ran to help. He remembers blacking out twice.

According to Ozzy’s mother, his 11-year-old cousin, Connor Brown, called 911 and stayed with Ozzy, encouraging him to stay calm while others tended to Octavius.

“He kept saying, ‘Don’t move Ozzy,’” Velez said, adding, “I saw Conner after that bury his head in his mother’s chest and start to cry.”

Ozzy remembers being in the helicopter and looking out to see the hills of Pittsburgh. He was on a stretcher, the quarters were close and his mother and paramedics were with him.

While he was being treated at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, he heard on a television newscast that his friend had died.

“We weren’t going to tell him until morning,” his grandmother, Barbara Brown, said. “He had nightmares all night and thought it was a dream.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Pride.tiff New Castle Schools: Second-grader recognized for reading 200 books

    Alexandra Browne of New Castle could very well be Lawrence County’s youngest bookworm. The petite, curly-haired 8-year-old was summoned to the New Castle school board meeting Monday with her parents, Rochelle and Ted Browne, to receive the district’s Pride and Promise award for April.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hilcorp a partner in vo-tech shale course

    A shale drilling company’s contribution to the vo-tech school will help fund a curriculum for careers in that field.

    April 19, 2014

  • 01.jpg Photo Gallery: Church’s tradition of Easter countdown continues

    Easter is keenly anticipated by Christians around the globe. But perhaps nowhere is its arrival more heralded than at Independent Methodist Church.

    April 18, 2014 11 Photos

  • Lawrence county receives state grant

    Lawrence County will receive state funding to update its comprehensive plan. The county will receive $47,000, in the form of a Municipal Assistance Grant, from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, according to state Sen. Elder J. Vogel.

    April 18, 2014

  • Mahoning Township sets spring cleanup

    Mahoning Township will have its spring cleanup the weeks of April 28 and May 5. Residents should place items at the curb the day before their scheduled collection. They should be neatly bagged or bundled.

    April 18, 2014

  • Vo-Skills.jpg VoTech team claims silver medal state honors

    The Lawrence County Career and Technical Center boasts a team of disciplined, well-spoken winners. The school’s SkillsUSA team, comprised of 21 students, stood against other schools from throughout Pennsylvania last week in Hershey.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Columbia Gas announces pipeline replacement work

    Columbia Gas has scheduled a pipeline replacement project for New Castle. Beginning this month, the company will replace approximately 2,800 feet of existing steel pipe along Eastbrook and Paper Mill roads and Cascade Street. The project is expected to be completed in July.

    April 17, 2014

  • ESB Financial reports earnings increase

    ESB Financial Corp., parent company of ESB Bank, has announced an increase in earnings for the quarter ended March 31.

    April 17, 2014

  • Author.tiff Arthur the author: Children’s writer/illustrator visits Neshannock Elementary

    A story about a grandmother and her granddaughter flying over a city grew from the vivid imagination of children’s author Arthur Dorros. “Abuela” also spurred the creativity of students at Neshannock Memorial Elementary School who had eagerly awaited a visit from Dorros yesterday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greer House changes name

    Greer House, a provider of assisted living services and care to seniors, has unveiled its new name. “We are thrilled about our new name — Clen-Moore Place,” said executive director Susan Leise, “because it better reflects our commitment to provide a vibrant environment where our residents thrive each and every day.

    April 16, 2014