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Driver Charged With Killing Mail Carrier In Greene County

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) - A woman is facing charges for allegedly hitting a mail carrier in Greene County with her car last year, killing him.

Chad Varner, 49, was hit and killed on Andrews Road in Morris Township last October after he left his vehicle to deliver a package.

"This accident took a heavy toll. Mr. Varner wasn't just our mailman, Mr. Varner was our friend and Mr. Varner was valued and he will be missed. His absence changed the chemistry of our community," said Greene County Regional Police Chief William DeForte.

Police said Tina Phillips was driving over 70 mph when her car careened off the road and through a row of hedges before hitting Varner. A witness who saw the crash ran to a store to call 911 since there was no reception at the scene then came back to render aid.

morris township mail carrier fatal crash
(Photo: NewsChopper2/KDKA)

According to court paperwork, Phillips has epilepsy. Citing emergency room records after the crash, police said she told doctors she has a breakthrough seizure about once a year. However, while at a medical exam to retain her driver's license a week later, the criminal complaint said Phillips denied having a seizure while driving.

Investigators believe she was not taking her insulin regularly and that may have led to the crash.

"There was a disparity in the way she had taken her medication or what she was supposed to be taking daily in order to prevent either a diabetic episode or an epileptic episode," DeForte said.

Phillips' passenger said she didn't lose consciousness before the crash but became unresponsive, the criminal complaint said.

"What our officers discovered through the investigation was that there was a spike in her sugar levels we believe had caused that medical event that caused the accident that took the life of Mr. Varner," said DeForte.

Phillips is facing multiple charges, including homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and tampering. She is expected to turn herself in on Tuesday morning, DeForte said.

Chad varner
(Photo Credit: Yoskovich Funeral Home)

"If she was in the wrong, I'm glad it is done," said David Morris, who was friends with Varner. "And they will get some closure on it."

"He was a good family-hearted person," said Bill Baxendell, another friend. "And it's a devastating factor for his family. It's sad to see him go."

Phillips turned herself in to police Tuesday morning. Bond is set at $10,000.

"Today is the beginning of a lengthy legal process that I hope can bring some closure to an unfortunate chapter for the Varner family. My heart goes out to everyone in my community that has suffered from this unnecessary tragedy," DeForte said.

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