A 38-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition Friday night after he was thrown from a vehicle in an early morning crash on Allegheny River Boulevard in Penn Hills.
Richard Dopico of Penn Hills was driving the vehicle when it hit a utility pole, slid on a guide rail, then struck a tree, Penn Hills police Chief Howard Burton said. Mr. Dopico was ejected from the vehicle, and the engine also came out.
High speed played a factor in the single-car crash, which was reported about 2:13 a.m. and kept Allegheny River Boulevard closed between Nadine Road and Washington Boulevard through the morning rush, Chief Burton said. The crash scene, he said, spanned about 500 feet.
Police also smelled alcohol at the scene, Chief Burton said. No one else was in the vehicle.
Before the crash, Mr. Dopico was the target of a brief police pursuit that started in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood.
Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard said Mr. Dopico was driving without headlights, and officers pulled the vehicle over in the 6500 to 6600 block of Hamilton Avenue. She said the driver briefly pulled over and then sped away.
She said the lieutenant monitoring the chase made the decision to call off the pursuit soon after it started.
Officers were not following Mr. Dopico at the time of the crash, Chief Burton said.
"We strongly believe the [Pittsburgh police] pursuit had nothing to do with the crash," he said.
Ms. Richard said charges will be pending from the city. Penn Hills police were still investigating Friday afternoon.
Molly Born: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1944, or on Twtiter: @borntolede.