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Thread: '98 PA HS State Champ Killed in Road-Rage Incident

  1. #1

    Default '98 PA HS State Champ Killed in Road-Rage Incident

    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
    The Express-Times
    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.
    Last edited by ideamark; 04-13-2007 at 10:40 PM.

  2. #2


    Yikes, what a sad story.

  3. #3


    Update... to see the police sketch and hear the audio, click on the link at the end of the story...

    Police release image of driver wanted in fatal crash [audio]
    Originally published April 14, 2007

    By Sarah Fortney
    News-Post Staff

    Composite drawing courtesy of Maryland State Police

    AUDIO: Listen to the 911 calls

    FREDERICK ? Maryland State Police have created a composite drawing of the driver of a green Chevrolet pickup truck involved in a crash Wednesday on I-270 that killed two people.

    Christian Luciano, 28, was driving a 1998 Chrysler Sebring convertible with his girlfriend, Lindsay Bender, 25, about 8 a.m. on I-270 south. Both Harrisburg, Pa. residents were on their way to North Carolina for a weekend vacation.

    Luciano was driving on a suspended license, 1st Sgt. Chris Sasse said Friday. Because he was from out of state, police will have to wait about two weeks to find out why.

    Witnesses told police Luciano and the driver of a green Chevrolet pickup truck exchanged obscene gestures. Luciano lost control of the car when he swerved to avoid hitting the truck.

    The Sebring struck several trees before landing in an embankment, police said. The driver of the pickup truck did not stop.

    At least 15 people pulled over to potentially help the victims of a single-car crash, according to 911 recordings.

    Some of the people tried to raise the Sebring to get Luciano and Bender out from underneath. The dispatcher told the caller to make sure people stopped trying to jack up the car so no one else would get injured.

    Several people called in response to the overturned Sebring near the scenic overlook north of Urbana.

    "I just was right behind the car. A car cut him off ... We're looking at them right now ... There's a woman or a man laying next to the car and they're not moving ... I think the gentleman is dead," one caller told a dispatcher. "The little girl's face is bleeding."

    The Frederick News-Post obtained the recordings from the Frederick County Emergency Communications Center.

    A dispatcher asked a caller if all the cars involved were on the scene. She replied, "There's a guy who cut the car off and caused this to happen ... it was a big pickup truck, he ran them off the road."

    Sasse said police have received more than 50 tips since the crash occurred.

    Bender's family is offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the driver of the pickup truck.

    Police said the white man is in his mid-30s. He has light brown hair that comes to the middle of this neck. He was wearing a baseball cap.

  4. #4


    Terrible sketch
    Yours in wrestling,

    The Swayz

  5. #5

    Default Re: '98 PA HS State Champ Killed in Road-Rage Incident

    Did they ever catch this guy yet? In addition to the FYI at the top of this page, I'd like to let people know that Christian actaully beat Jon twice, and also holds a victory over Josh Kosheck (national champion and UFC star).

  6. #6

    Default Re: '98 PA HS State Champ Killed in Road-Rage Incident


    I just did a quick google news search, and came up empty. Did a regular google search, and, sadly, the same -- no new news about whether the driver who caused the deaths of Luciano and his fiance had been brought to justice. Does anyone else know?

    Welcome to the forum,

    PS I sent you an email

  7. #7

    Default Re: '98 PA HS State Champ Killed in Road-Rage Incident

    I talked to his sister, and no they did not catch the guy who killed him. For anyone interested, Christian was a Grappler's Quest (submission wrestling) champion, and practiced boxing (which he was very competitive at). He had a bench press hovering around the 400 lbs. mark. 3 ACL surgeries led to struggles on the wrestling mat and basically were responsible for Christian never living up to his potential in college. He was heavily recruited out of high school and never got the chance to wrestle a Division I match (in season).

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