Driver dispute prompts head-on collision

Three people were taken to hospitals Thursday after a head-on collision on Jefferson Street hill that closed the road for several hours. 

Three people were taken to hospitals Thursday, two with serious injuries, after a head-on collision on Jefferson Street hill.

New Castle police in a preliminary accident report said two southbound cars initially were involved and when they collided, one of the vehicles went into the northbound lane and hit a third vehicle head-on.

According to the report, Devon F. Linnear, 27, of Detroit, was driving south on Wilmington Avenue around 4:30 p.m. and had stopped at a red light at Moody Avenue. A vehicle driven by Marylynn Jimm, 35, of 12 Winter Road, was stopped behind him, and when the light changed, Linnear did not proceed at first. Jimm honked her horn, then traffic commenced and stopped again at a light on North Jefferson Street at Wallace Avenue. Both vehicles were in the left lane, with Jimm behind Linnear, the report said.

As the light turned green, Linnear again did not proceed and Jimm again honked her horn and drove into the right lane around him, the police report states. Jimm told police that as she was passing Linnear, she and Linnear both exchanged middle finger gestures. Just past Lincoln Avenue, Jimm's back driver's side tire hit Linnear's front passenger side in what appeared to be the left lane of traffic, the police reported.

Upon contact, Linnear's vehicle crossed into the northbound lane and hit an SUV head-on that was driven by Mary D. Nemeth, 76, of Alborn Avenue.

A passenger in Linnear's vehicle, 35-year-old Michelle Hill of 1704 Moravia St., was trapped inside the car and was extricated by New Castle firemen. She was flown to St. Elizabeth's Youngstown Hospital. According to a fire department report, she suffered an apparent broken leg, ankle and knee and complained of abdominal pain.

Assistant city fire chief Tom Bulisco said that when the fire department arrived, Linnear was found lying in the grass outside the driver's side door of his vehicle, and his vehicle's air bags had deployed. Linnear was taken to St. Elizabeth's by ambulance.

Nemeth was transported by ambulance to UPMC Jameson Hospital and later to UPMC Mercy Hopsital in Pittsburgh with unknown injuries. The fire department report said she had complained of pain in her arms and neck.

The report did not indicate whether Jimm was injured.

The fire department reported Hill was knocking on the window to get out of the car because the door to Linnear's vehicle had been damaged. 

A city police officer who was parked near the intersection of North Jefferson and Grant streets reported hearing a loud noise when the impact occurred. He noted that numerous people, including a nurse, were trying to help the injured persons. 

A state police accident reconstruction team was summoned, and Jefferson Street hill was closed to traffic until Friday morning during the investigation. A section of Lincoln Avenue also was closed between Jefferson and Mercer streets.


Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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