Police continue to investigate Oakland pedestrian death

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Pittsburgh city police continue to investigate the death of a Penn State student following an early Saturday morning pedestrian incident in Oakland, with the vehicle's driver and the student's friends providing different accounts of what happened.

Cody Barrasse, 22, the son of Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Barrasse and Scranton cardiologist Linda D'Andrea Barrasse, died at UPMC Presbyterian early Sunday morning, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office.

His death came a day after police responded at 2:15 a.m. Saturday to the report of a pedestrian hit by a vehicle near Bates Street and Argyle Way in Oakland, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said in an email today.

Police arrived to find Mr. Barrasse, originally from Moosic, a borough near Scranton, lying unconscious on Bates Street with a head injury. His friends told police that the driver of the vehicle, a silver BMW, purposely hit him and then left the scene, Ms. Richard said in her email.

The driver, whose name has not been released, later called 911 from the Giant Eagle GetGo store at 18th and Sarah streets on the South Side. The driver, accompanied by a passenger, was driving on Bates Street when three men approached, and the driver stopped to avoid hitting them, according to Ms. Richard's email. The men surrounded the car and began pounding on the car hood and roof, with one of the men eventually pulling open a car door, Ms. Richard said the driver stated.

"It was at this time that the driver fled the scene to avoid any possible harm or further confrontation," Ms. Richard said in her email.

The driver, who showed no signs of impairment, called the police upon reaching the South Side, Ms. Richard said. Both the witnesses in Oakland and the driver were taken to police headquarters for questioning, and the investigation is ongoing, Ms. Richard said.

Mr. Barrasse was pronounced dead at 4:46 a.m. Sunday at UPMC Presbyterian, a spokesman for the medical examiner said. Lisa Powers, a spokeswoman for Penn State University, said Mr. Barrasse was a senior finance major at Penn State who was set to graduate this spring.

"It's always a tragedy when someone's life is taken so young, and particularly in an accident," she said. "It was so sudden. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

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Karen Kane and Molly Born contributed. Kaitlynn Riely: kriely@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1707. First Published April 8, 2013 11:30 AM


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