A part-time Perryopolis, Pa., police officer was killed Sunday afternoon in a fiery two-vehicle crash on Route 51 in neighboring Perry Township when a Uniontown man crossed in front of his cruiser, police said.

Richard Anthony Champion, 35, of Ligonier Township, perished during a high-speed chase when his police cruiser, which had its lights and sirens activated, collided with a sport utility vehicle in the southbound lanes of Route 51, just south of Perryopolis, borough police Capt. Steven Kontaxes told TribLive.com.

The officer's car burst into flames and customers at the Big Barn Country Store & Deli ran to the accident scene with fire extinguishers, Fayette County Coroner Phillip Reilly said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:15 p.m. by Fayette Deputy Coroner John Kondrla, Reilly said.

Andrew Bohatch, 59, of Uniontown, was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh for treatment of what police described as major injuries. He was in critical condition Sunday night.

Officer Champion was a military veteran. The Officer Down Memorial Page reports he had served with the Perryopolis Borough Police Department for eight months and also worked part-time with the Derry Borough Police Department. He is survived by his wife and 16-month-old child.

 

 

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