Police: McKeesport man knew his brakes weren’t working before fatal July crash


Police said a McKeesport man knew his 2003 Yukon had no brakes and was dangerous to drive when he left ACS Auto Repair on July 3, but he left and s ‘crashed about a kilometer away, killing his passenger.

Eric Oliver, 47, faces a host of charges related to the crash, including vehicle homicide, manslaughter, fatal accidents and various traffic and vehicle offenses, according to the court records.

The crash on Brownlee Road left Levona Hawkins, 50, dead after being thrown from the GMC in the midday crash. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the criminal complaint, Oliver told investigators he was driving down a hill westbound on Brownlee when his brakes – which he said had been working properly until then – stopped working. Emergency brakes, he said, wouldn’t stop the SUV either. He said he drove over a hill in an attempt to slow down. When that didn’t work, he told police, he turned right, walked through a fence and finally came to a stop.

Oliver said Hawkins was “panicking” and at one point jumped or was thrown from the car, according to the complaint.

Police said Oliver said he bought the SUV in May with around 208,000 miles. He said he recently spoke to the previous owner who told him the brake discs needed to be replaced, according to the complaint.

During an inspection of the SUV by Allegheny County Police, investigators noticed that the dashboard illuminated with the message “service braking system” and that the car had numerous issues that were said to have failed. state inspection.

A month before the accident, Oliver and Hawkins were at ACS Auto Repair on Avenue Versailles, police said. The owner and only mechanic said he remembered Oliver and the SUV, and the brakes were “in terrible condition,” according to the complaint.

The mechanic concluded that the brake system was “extremely dangerous” and the car should not have been driven, according to the complaint. He told Oliver to have the vehicle towed because he could “get killed” if he tried to drive it. He told police that Oliver left regardless, and a woman who was with him said she was afraid to get in the car.

Instead, according to the complaint, the woman started walking down the street as Oliver slowly walked away. The fatal accident happened a month later.

Family members told Tribune-Review press partner WPXI-TV that Hawkins was missed.

“I am 75 years old,” Hawkins’ mother Dorothy Huston told the TV station. “I want a little justice for my child. I loved him so much. “

Hawkins’ daughter Tammerica said the family “were trying to find all the reasons” not to be grateful for the holiday.

“We are grateful at least that there is some progression,” she said.

Oliver was not in custody on Wednesday evening.

Megan Guza is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, mguza@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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