A truly awful story. I hope justice is served.
FYI: Luciano and Jon Trenge wrestled each other in high school...
Driver in fatal remains at large
Police continue hunt. Onetime Northampton athlete thrown from car.
Friday, April 13, 2007
By BEVIN MILAVSKY
Maryland State Police continued to scour Interstate 270 near Frederick, Md., on Thursday for the driver of a pickup truck that may have caused a Wednesday morning crash that killed former Pennsylvania state wrestling champion Christian M. Luciano and his girlfriend.
Meanwhile, the girlfriend's family has put up a $5,000 reward for information that helps police identify the pickup truck driver.
Luciano, 28, and Lindsay L. Bender, 25, both of Harrisburg, died after an apparent road-rage incident in which witnesses told police they exchanged obscene gestures with the driver of a green Chevrolet pickup truck.
Luciano, formerly of Northampton, was a two-time District 11 Class AAA and Northeast Region champion from Northampton Area High School. He won a state championship at 171 pounds in 1998.
State police said after exchanging gestures, the truck swerved in front of Luciano's Chrysler Sebring, causing the car to strike and flip over a guardrail and hit several trees. Luciano and Bender were thrown from the car, police said. It happened about 8 a.m.
State police spokesman Sgt. Arthur Betts said police Thursday posted information boards along the interstate and were patrolling the area in case the pickup driver frequently travels the highway for work.
Betts said police have received numerous tips, but so far nothing has led to an identification of the driver. He said it is too early to say what criminal charges the driver could face.
"The most important thing is locating the vehicle and operator," he said.
An aunt of Bender told The Patriot-News in Harrisburg that Bender and Luciano had dated four or five years and recently moved into an apartment in Harrisburg.
The couple were headed to Hilton Head, S.C., to visit Bender's parents, the aunt said.
"It's an absolute tragedy," Ashleigh Bender told the newspaper. "It just should have never happened. We just hope the police can find the person who caused it."
Bender's relatives contacted Maryland State Police to offer the reward.
"Grieving family members hope that someone who may otherwise be reluctant to come forward will take this opportunity to contact troopers with the vital information," police said in a statement Thursday.
Police also said a dog riding in the car with Luciano and Bender survived the crash and was being held at the Frederick barracks for family members.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.