New Castle News

May 7, 2013

Photo Gallery, Story: Paying respects to fallen Shenango officer, latest updates

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Paramedics attending a fallen Shenango officer refused to leave the emergency room until he was draped with a flag.

Two of them found a flag and laid it over him.

Then, as William J. “Jerry” McCarthy’s covered body was wheeled out of the hospital room with the stars and stripes, about 50 waiting fellow police officers saluted him.

Those moments were described Monday by Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa, who also had rushed to Jameson Hospital upon hearing the news about his detective.

McCarthy, 60, died of injuries suffered in an accident around 10 p.m. Thursday in Shenango Township, where he was on duty as a part-time officer.

He was also a full-time Lawrence County detective and humane officer, hired by Lamancusa for the district attorney’s office.

Russell S. Noga, the county coroner, has ruled McCarthy’s death accidental.

He died from blunt force trauma to the body and head, a severe laceration to the aorta, a ruptured pericardium, which is the fluid-filled sac surrounding the heart, and multiple rib fractures, according to Noga.

McCarthy also had multiple other injuries that were not the direct cause of death, Noga said.

A procession of police cars escorted his body to Heritage Valley Health Center in Beaver, where an autopsy was performed, Lamancusa said. Two officers remained outside the examining room during the procedure.

Police chaplains provided support and comfort to the officers and McCarthy’s family members.

The Rev. Ron Eade of Church of Genesis, a state police chaplain, said chaplain Gary Crowe was at the accident scene. Eade and chaplain Arthur Holloway were at the hospital.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Cascade Street and Warren Avenue, when a Shenango Township cruiser in which McCarthy was a passenger was struck broadside. Police said the red Pontiac Sunfire that hit the police car was driven by Kylee Barletto, 25, of Hoover Road, who does not have a valid license. She allegedly was trying to flee city police.

Because the accident involved the death of a police officer, the investigation has been taken over by the state police.

Barletto was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown with face and head injuries. She faces multiple charges, including manslaughter of a law enforcement officer in the second degree and homicide by vehicle.

The hospital refused to confirm Monday whether Barletto is still a patient there. However her attorney said she was in the facility and he expected her to be released Monday night or Tuesday. He and Lamancusa both said she was under police guard there.

The driver of the police cruiser, Michael Lynch, 35, also a part-time Shenango officer, suffered a broken hip and broken ankle. He has been released from the hospital and attended calling hours in a wheelchair Monday with his fellow officers.

McCarthy, who had been working full time for the county since 2011, had retired from the Grove City police department. He also had worked four years as a police officer in South New Castle Borough and was recently named code enforcement officer for Shenango Township.

Monday, a Shenango Township Fire Department ladder truck hoisted an American flag outside St. Vitus Church during visitation.

Calling hours for McCarthy continue until 7 p.m. Tuesday at the church. A Mass of Christian burial — expected to draw police from the region and other states — will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. He will be buried in Crestview Memorial Park, Grove City.