A father of two is dead after a Monroeville police officer driving in his cruiser Thursday night crashed into the pedestrian.
Allegheny County police said Michael Barnes, 49, of Monroeville was walking in the 3900 block of Monroeville Boulevard shortly before 7:30 p.m. when the Monroeville officer, who officials have not identified, struck him.
That stretch of road is lined with businesses and near an apartment complex. There was not a crosswalk or a traffic signal in the area where Mr. Barnes was walking.
County homicide Lt. Andrew Schurman told KDKA-TV early Friday morning, "The early indications are that the pedestrian may have wandered into the flow of traffic."
He said police found a pair of headphones nearby and officials said they were waiting for blood tests to determine whether there might have been any drugs or alcohol in Mr. Barnes' system.
George Stakelin, a maintenance man at the nearby Northern Pike apartments, said he heard the crash but did not see it.
"I heard the boom," he said. "It sounded like two cars crashing together."
Mr. Stakelin said that when he arrived a firefighter or paramedic was attempting to do CPR on Mr. Barnes. He said medics worked on Mr. Barnes for a bit in the ambulance before they drove him to Forbes Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:49 p.m.
The county medical examiner's office conducted an autopsy Friday and listed the cause of death as multiple blunt force trauma to the head, neck, trunk and extremities. The manner of death is pending the results of further police investigation.
The Monroeville officer, who is a veteran in the patrol division, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Monroeville police Chief Steven Pascarella said. He said police also tested the officer for signs of drugs and alcohol, per normal police policy after such accidents.
County police intend to turn the results of their investigation over to the Allegheny County district attorney's office, which will decide whether to file charges against the officer.
Mr. Barnes grew up in New Orleans and moved to Monroeville about 15 years ago, said family friend Angela Eichenmiller.
She said he and Tamara Lord have two children -- a 12-year-old girl named Lauren and an 8-year-old boy named Logan, both of whom are autistic and have Down syndrome.
Courts records show that Mr. Barnes had pleaded guilty to simple assaults and driving under the influence numerous times in Allegheny County. Ms. Eichenmiller said he had attended rehab and was trying to devote more attention to his children.
"It's gonna be tough to tell the kids. I don't know that Logan will ever understand," Ms. Eichenmiller said. "It will be difficult for them to not have that little bit of sunshine, that little bit of income."
Ms. Eichenmiller said she is working to set up an account where people can make donations to benefit the children.
In the meantime, she said, the Barnes family is trying to make sense of the conflicting information they have received about the crash. She said a social worker initially told Ms. Lord that Mr. Barnes died in a hit-and-run and that the family had not heard from Monroeville police as of Friday afternoon.
"They're not sure what to believe," she said.
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.