Elderly couple dies in crash

Altoona police are investigating a two-vehicle crash that left two people dead and two others injured around 4 p.m. Monday along Union Avenue.

Coroner Patty Ross said the deceased were a married couple in their 80s. The husband had health problems, and Ross said he caused the accident.

“They had just celebrated their marriage yesterday. They were married for 63 years,” she said.

Sgt. Brian Freiwald said a white car, which was carrying the couple traveling on 31st Street, struck a gold truck, traveling south on Union Avenue.

A police press release said witnesses stated the white car was traveling at a high rate of speed as it approached the intersection with Union Avenue. The vehicle failed to stop at the posted stop sign and hit the passenger side of the truck, forcing both vehicles across the oncoming traffic lane and into a concrete bridge barrier.

Ross said the couple died instantly.

The truck, which had Joe Merritt Remodeling painted on its doors, was carrying two males, police said.

Both males were transported to Altoona Regional where they were admitted with nonlife-threatening injuries.

Police and utility workers parked at nearby Altoona Bible Church and remained on scene for hours to clean up after the crash, working late into the evening as snow began to fall.

Crews worked to remove a light pole, which was knocked over by the truck in the crash, and to secure the concrete bridge barrier.

Union Avenue resident Lori Benton said she was at home doing laundry when she heard a loud boom. She said it sounded like the front of plow truck had fallen off.

It was only after she rushed outside that she saw the cause was a car accident.

Another neighbor, Pat Kenney, described Union Avenue as a very dangerous road, saying crashes are common.

But the accident Monday was one of the worst that she had seen in recent years, she said.

Ross said she would not release the victims’ names until all family members were notified.

Police said an accident reconstructionist has been assigned to the case.