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Longtime state constable dies month after Perryopolis car crash

By Mike Jones 3 min read
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Philip Michael

A longtime state constable from Fayette County died Thursday more than a month after his vehicle was struck by another driver who allegedly ran a red light on Route 51 in Perryopolis.

Philip J. Michael, 51, of South Union Township, died at UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh following injuries he suffered in the May 3 crash, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office.

“I don’t think you’re going to find anyone in the court system or the community that has anything bad to say about Phil,” Fayette County District Attorney Mike Aubele said Friday. “Just a super nice guy. Always smiling. He was never having a bad day. I can’t say enough about him.”

Aubele, who got to know Michael while working in the courts as a defense attorney before winning election as district attorney last year, said the constable was a “great family man” who also cared deeply about his job and the community. Aubele said Michael’s experience made him the point person for working on training exercises with other constables in the county.

“He was the go-to guy,” Aubele said. “He did a lot of the training and certification for the other constables. We consulted him for his expertise often, more than any other constable in the county.”

It’s not immediately clear whether Michael was on duty when the crash happened last month. According to Perryopolis police, 18-year-old Brianna Krall was driving on Independence Street in the borough when she allegedly went through a red light and struck Michael’s vehicle as it was crossing through the intersection on Route 51. Krall is facing multiple traffic citations, including an additional summary offense of careless driving causing unintentional death that was filed Thursday.

Perryopolis police could not be reached for comment Friday for additional information on the crash.

In addition to serving as a state constable, Michael was a former Uniontown City councilman and current president of the Uniontown Rotary Club, according to his obituary.

Fayette County Commissioner Vince Vicites said Michael was both a friend and a neighbor of his in South Union Township. He recalled Michael as not only a constable for more than two decades in the county, but also a respected educator, teaching at school districts in Mapletown and West Mifflin, while also subbing at various schools across Fayette County.

“He was just very community oriented. Public service meant a lot to him, helping people. … He was a community-minded person who really cared. He touched a lot of people,” Vicites said. “It’s just really tragic, really sad. He will be sorely missed.”

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