Three people are dead after multiple motorcycle crashes in Greene County over the weekend.
The first crash killed a Virginia man, who was driving a motorcycle north on state Route 88 near Pumpkin Run Road in Jefferson Township just after 5 p.m. Friday.
Police said Ira K. Somers, 63, of Broadway, Va., failed to negotiate a turn in the road and struck a ditch, causing the bike to go airborne and rotate in the air. Police said the bike landed on top of Somers. EMS transported Somers to WHS-Greene hospital, where Somers was pronounced dead, police said.
The second crash happened Saturday evening and killed a well-known South Strabane couple.
Paul J. Tripoli, 56, and Darla A. Tripoli, 57, were traveling south on Route 19 just north of Hillcrest Avenue in Franklin Township about 6:23 p.m., state police said in a news release.
County Coroner Gene Rush said Paul was driving the motorcycle with Darla on the back when the bike went out of control on a curve, crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming vehicle, driven by Bianca L. Simpson, 36, of Waynesburg.
The Tripolis died at the scene, Rush said. State police said Simpson was not injured.
The Tripolis will be mourned by a large family, including two children in their 20s, Jake and Madi Tripoli, and two young grandchildren.
“This is a really tough time for our family and we appreciate all the love and support that we are receiving,” Jake wrote in a public Facebook post. “We will post details and dates as we establish everything. Thank you so much for the love and kind words.”
Madi also publicly posted on Facebook pictures of her parents, promising to always love them, always remember their last hug and to make them proud.
“My parents are my best friends, and they never failed to love me, no matter how badly I messed up,” she wrote. “I will remember the love you gave for the rest of my life.”
Paul Tripoli was a licensed clinical social worker who had a private counseling practice on South Main Street in Washington. Some of his clients publicly posted their condolences on his Facebook page, including one woman, Katie Gagliano.
“He truly helped me during some of the hardest times in my life,” she wrote. “Prayers and love to his kids, family and all those who were lucky to know him.”
Darla was a funeral director at Salandra Funeral Home in Canonsburg.
“They touched so many lives,” said Joseph Salandra, owner of the funeral home. “She loved to help people through their time of need.”
Salandra said Darla did mini services for people who didn’t have a minister, and she also did “Celebration of Life” services. According to the funeral home’s website, Darla also preplanned services for families across Washington County. The site said she grew up and went to high school in Peters Township before graduating from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, where she also taught part-time.
Salandra called Darla a “great mother” who cared for her children and grandchildren.
“She never complained about anything,” he said.
Salandra is working with the Tripoli’s children on arrangements for services, but this is unlike anything he’s had to do in the 40 years he’s run the funeral home, he said.
“They were like family to me, and it’s really devastating,” he said. “It’s like a loss of my own family.”