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Friday, September 16, 2016

The Frank Crash Murder Case

     Frank R. Crash was the proverbial big fish in a small pond. Since 1959 he owned and operated an auto wrecking company in his hometown of Greenville, a western Pennsylvania town of 6,000 eighty miles north of Pittsburgh. Located on the Shenago River in Mercer County, Greenville was home to Thiel College.

     In the 1960s and 70s, Frank Crash, a 1956 graduate of the former Penn High School, raced dirt track sprint cars and snowmobiles. His wife Carol Lee passed away in December 2009. Frank's two daughters, Pam Higbee and Susan Brenneman, also lived in Greenville. Frank resided by himself in a house on Mercer Road in Hempfield Township just south of Greenville across the street from a restaurant and golf course.

     At 10:30 PM on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, Mr. Crash left the Hickory Grill in nearby Hermitage. At nine-thirty the next morning, when the 76-year-old didn't show up for work, his daughter Pam went to his house to check on him. She found her father lying dead in a pool of blood in the kitchen. It appeared that Mr. Crash had been stabbed to death.

     Death scene investigators found trails and splatter of blood throughout the dwelling. The telephone had been ripped from the wall. Next to the corpse lay a smashed cellphone. The intruder, who had entered the house forcefully through the back sliding glass door, had stolen an undisclosed amount of cash and a 4-carat solitaire diamond ring.

     Erie forensic pathologist Eric Vey, on Friday July 27, 2013, published the results of his autopsy. Frank Crash had been stabbed 76 times by a knife or pair of scissors. The victim's heart and lungs had been punctured many times in what Dr. Vey labeled a criminal homicide.

     Mercer County District Attorney Robert C. Kochems, on July 31, 2013 issued a press release on the status of the Crash homicide investigation. According to the prosecutor, the authorities did not have a suspect.

     On November 6, 2014, District Attorney Kochems announced that 33-year-old Tracey Lin Hassel from nearby Hermitage, Pennsylvania had been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, robbery, and burglary in the Crash murder case. (Second-degree murder--in Pennsylvania the felony-murder doctrine--carries a sentence of life in prison.) Burglary and robbery are felonies that could bring up to 20 years in prison. The penalty for third-degree murder in Pennsylvania is 20 to 40 years behind bars.

     According to the Mercer County prosecutor, Hassel, who knew the victim, had broken into his home to steal money so she could bail her boyfriend out of jail. After stabbing Mr. Crash 76 times, the suspect stole the diamond ring off his finger and cash from his pockets.

     Hassel, with a long criminal record, was serving time at the state prison in Muncy, Pennsylvania. She had been convicted in February 2015 of several counts of burglary and robbery.

     On September 13, 2016, on the day the Crash murder trial was set to begin, Tracey Hassel pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the case. As part of the plea deal, she would serve her murder sentence along with the 7 to 21 year sentence she was serving for the burglaries and robberies. Regarding the Crash murder case, the judge denied her credit for the two years she had served awaiting trial.

      

5 comments:

  1. What 76 year old man screw around with a 24 year old stripper.a old pervert. Rumors have it that he died with out his ...was cut off.sounds like someone really hated the guy.hella way to die.

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    1. First, Thank you Mr. Fisher for an article well written and factual. As someone who has close connections with the family, we appreciate your due diligence in researching the case and presenting the facts.

      As far as "Anonymous" goes, those are some bold (FALSE) accusations for someone who is to cowardly and childish to state their own name. Let me educate you on the type of man Frank Crash was to his family, friends, employees, and community.

      First, he was the type of grandfather/great grandfather who attended every grand child's birthday, never missed the opportunity to take his great grandson to a high school football game and came to every play, dance recital, and school event. He was the type of father/grandfather who provided support, friendship and stability for his family, always putting his families needs before his own. He was the type of husband who literally would have given his wife the world if he could have.

      What about the type of friend he was? A friend who met with the same group of guys once a week for FIFTY PLUS years! I don't know about you, but if I'm lucky enough to have four true best friends for 50 years, I would say I'm doing something right.

      As for employees, in this day and age we are lucky to find employees who have been with the same company for more than five years. Frank had the same employee since opening his business in 1959. He had clients that bought their kids/grand kids/ great grand kids cars from him. If this doesn't speak to the type of business man he was, then I don't know what would.

      As for the town of Greenville, Frank not only provided economic growth but also supported local organizations including Greenville High School Football, Saint Michaels church and school, fire department, Thiel College, Italian Home Club, The Elks, and the list goes on! He was passionate about our community and seeing it grow and continually contributed to it!

      My advice for you "Anonymous" is next time you want to voice your opinion make sure you have your facts straight and actually know the kind of person you are talking about, not just getting your information from the Greenville rumor mill!

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  2. WELL DONE MINDY!!!! I AGREE 100%WITH YOUR COMMENTS. WITH REGARD TO THE GUTLESS THAT WOULD MAKE ERRONEOUS REMARKS ABOUT FRANK CRASH.AND NOT SIGN THEIR NAME...KARMA MY FRIEND KARMA!!!..
    I HOPE THEY FIND THE SCUM WHO TOOK FRANK'S LIFE.
    NO ONE DESERVES TO BE BRUTALLY MURDERED, LEAST OF ALL FRANK CRASH.
    REBECCA/MESA,AZ

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  3. i can tell u all this he was a great guy sounds like but will menton this iv lived in greenville all my life and when i needed parts it wouldent be from frank crash just didnt seem like he gave a crap about customers, i mean he guy hung up on me one time when i asked him if he could go any lower on an alternator with over 140k!..o ya he was askin 100$ no freakin way dude!

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    1. Jason LittlefieldMay 21, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      You know who wishes they could buy a $100 alternator? Frank Crash!

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