A Logan Township man accused in the hit-and-run of a pedestrian in Greenwood said he fell asleep, and police suspect drugs were the reason, according to court records.
Paul C. Weatherwalk, 55, of 428 Rhett Lane, Altoona, is charged with felony accidents involving death or personal injury along with a string of summary violations including failure to stop and give information or render aid and reckless driving after he allegedly struck 19-year-old Collin Johnson of Greenwood on Tuesday about 4:30 p.m.
Weatherwalk allegedly hit Johnson on East Pleasant Valley Boulevard near The Meadows Ice Cream store, as Johnson walked north along the side of the road, police said. Weatherwalk, who was also northbound, drove off the road, hit Johnson and a mailbox, and continued down the highway, police said.
A witness pointed police to the area where Weatherwalk's pick-up truck was last seen, and a state trooper located the truck and Weatherwalk at his Rhett Lane home, Logan Township police Chief Ron Heller said.
Heller said Weatherwalk told police he fell asleep but gave statements indicating he takes prescription drugs on a daily basis. District Attorney Richard Consiglio gave police the green-light to test Weatherwalk for drugs, Heller noted. The results of that testing are pending, police said.
Weatherwalk allegedly told police he panicked after hitting what he thought was just a mailbox and drove home, figuring he would return to the scene later to talk to the owner of the mailbox. The mailbox was found in the vehicle, Heller noted.
Police noted in court records that Weatherwalk said he takes medication for depression and anxiety "and also takes narcotics on a daily basis."
"With the severity of the accident, the Defendant's admission that he fell asleep, this Officer had reason to believe that the reason the Defendant fell asleep is due to his drug use," Officer Brian Reidy wrote in the affidavit of probable cause attached to Weatherwalk's charges.
Heller said the Logan Township officer was driving north on East Pleasant Valley Boulevard just after the incident on his way to another call when he was flagged down by bystanders.
Johnson was taken to UPMC Altoona for treatment of non-lifethreatening injuries and is expected to recover, Heller said. The extent of those injuries was not known by police on Wednesday.