BETHEL PARK, Pa. — A series of Snapchat videos posted by one of three young people killed in an SUV crash shows them drinking in the vehicle beforehand and passing around a vodka bottle, police said. A fourth person in the vehicle was critically injured.
Police in Bethel Park, in suburban Pittsburgh, have been examining an 8-minute compilation of the videos that an unnamed friend of one victim, 23-year-old Bianca Herwig, of McDonald, posted on YouTube. Herwig had posted the series of short videos on Snapchat in the hours and minutes leading up to the crash. Investigators are hoping the video will help them determine who was drinking and how much before the crash about 1 a.m. Tuesday.
“I would speak to our teens and young adults out there: You’re not invincible,” police Chief Tim O’Conner said late Tuesday. “You may set out to have a good time, and that’s your intention, but when you mix alcohol and driving, you could wind up dead.”
The SUV driven by 21-year-old Paige Nicole Smith, a single mother from Bethel Park, struck a utility pole on Library Road, a major but sometimes winding thoroughfare in her hometown, just south of Pittsburgh. Smith was killed along with Herwig and another passenger, 17-year-old Heather Camisa, of Finleyville.
A third passenger, 21-year-old Brooke Molnar, was thrown from the wreckage and remained in critical condition on Wednesday at a Pittsburgh hospital.
Police found an empty vodka bottle, which can be seen being passed around in the vehicle in the video. The vodka bottle, with liquid in it, can be seen between Smith’s legs while she’s in the driver’s seat, and later she can be seen drinking from it. Smith also can be seen also holding a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer while driving.
Smith, Herwig and Molnar went to at least one bar on Pittsburgh’s South Side, an area known for its nightlife, before picking up Camisa after she got off from working at a restaurant in South Park, another suburb near Bethel Park, about 11 p.m. Monday.