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Drug dealer's body severed in crash

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

By Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A man found dead on a Homewood street yesterday morning was cut in half after he reached into a car during a drug deal and the driver took off, slamming his lower body into a utility pole on Hamilton Avenue.

Darrell Sapp, Post-Gazette
City homicide investigators study the scene on Hamilton Avenue in Homewood where a man was killed during an apparent drug deal yesterday morning.
Click photo for larger image.

The medical examiner's office said Antwon Williams, 45, died of a "complete transection of the lower body at the pelvis" and ruled the death a homicide.

A Pittsburgh paramedic found the severed body after city police responded to reports of a crash at 6:12 a.m. and found a smashed Dodge Neon on Hamilton with no sign of the driver.

One of Mr. Williams' family members who arrived at the scene screamed and collapsed when she realized what had happened.

Police said Mr. Williams was selling crack cocaine to the driver of the Neon shortly after 6 a.m. at Hamilton and North Lang avenues.

Witnesses told police that the driver accepted the crack but tried to drive away without paying for it.

Mr. Williams reached inside the driver's side window to try to shift the transmission into park to keep the man from leaving. The two men struggled, but the driver was able to pull away and speed off with Mr. Williams hanging partially out of the window.

Darrell Sapp, Post-Gazette
Police said the occupants of a Dodge Neon fled yesterday after a Homewood crash that killed a drug dealer.
Click photo for larger image.

"We believe the top half of his body was inside the vehicle and the lower half was outside," said Cmdr. Thomas Stangrecki, head of major crimes.

The car sped down Hamilton in the opposite lane of traffic and swerved into the other lane, where Mr. Williams' body struck a utility pole. His lower body was apparently severed when it was caught between the pole and the frame of the car door.

After the crash, the Neon continued on Hamilton toward North Murtland Avenue until the driver lost control at the intersection. The driver and his passengers, believed to be a man and a woman, ran in the direction of Penn Avenue.

Police have not identified any of those in the car, although the vehicle was registered to an owner in West View. Homicide detectives were examining it for evidence in tracking down the driver.

"Right off the bat, we're looking at homicide charges," Cmdr. Stangrecki said.

Witnesses initially told police the Neon occupants were two white men and a black woman, but later said the driver may have been a light-skinned black man.


(Torsten Ove can be reached at tove@post-gazette.com or 412-231-0132. )

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