Friend fondly remembers former Bob’s Diner server killed in Hampton crash

Friend fondly remembers former Bob’s Diner server killed in Hampton crash

Updated 2 minutes ago

Cathy Simpson relished brightening the days of others through her positive energy and jovial smile, whether she was taking orders from customers at Bob’s Diner or playing with her young grandson, a close friend of Simpson’s recalled.

“You couldn’t have asked for someone who was more terrific — always happy, always in a good mood,” said Debbie Lewis of East Carnegie, who met Simpson about eight years ago waiting tables alongside her at Bob’s Diner in Kennedy Township. “She would come in with a smile and we would just get through the day carrying on and laughing together. We had so much fun.

“I just loved her …” continued Lewis. “I just can’t believe she’s gone.”

Simpson, 61, of Pittsburgh’s Laketon Heights neighborhood died Thursday shortly after getting struck in a chain-reaction collision at a construction zone on Duncan Avenue in Hampton Township.

Allegheny County Police anticipate charges will be filed against the 19-year-old woman whom they say caused the accident by crashing into Simpson’s stopped car.

A longtime Western Pennsylvanian, Simpson had worked as a waitress at Bob’s Diner from 2008 to 2014 before taking a position working as a cashier and preparing food for AVI Foodsystems hospitality food service .

Lewis said she kept in touch with Simpson after she left Bob’s Diner and considers her one of her closest friends.

Simpson often spoke affectionately about her husband and gushed about her grandson, Lewis said. Simpson’s husband could not be reached for comment.

“She loved her new job, she loved her husband with all her heart and her family and her little grandson dearly,” Lewis said.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office pronounced Simpson dead in the emergency room at UPMC Passavant hospital roughly two hours after the accident on Duncan Avenue.

About 1:30 p.m., Simpson was behind the wheel of her stopped car waiting behind two other stopped cars for their turn to go while Allegheny County road workers repaired potholes and flaggers directed traffic.

A 19-year-old driver failed to stop and rammed into Simpson’s car, causing it to lunge forward and collide with the other cars, according to Allegheny County police, which are handling the investigation.

Police said the other two drivers suffered minor injuries.

Police, fire and paramedics from Hampton responded to the scene.

“Cathy Simpson did everything right,” said Hampton Township Municipal Manager Chris Lochner. “They (she and the other two cars) were stopped and the flagman was handling everything, from what I understand, perfectly, and it’s just one of those unfortunate things that occurred.”

Immediately following the collision, Simpson appeared to be “shaken up” but alert, according to Lochner.

Allegheny County police Lt. Andrew Schurman has said that “appropriate charges will be filed” once officials conclude their investigation.

A spokesman for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office did not return a request for further comment.

Officials had not yet filed charges Friday afternoon nor identified the 19-year-old driver, who reportedly told officials she didn’t see the line of stopped cars “until it was too late,” according to Lochner.

Schurman said there were no adverse weather conditions at the time of the accident.

Lochner said the driver who collided with Simpson’s car had an estimated sight distance of more than 300 feet of straight roadway.

Lewis, who now works at another Bob’s Diner, in Carnegie, finished her shift Friday afternoon and planned to have a quiet dinner with her sister before spending the rest of the night alone.

“I haven’t had time to grieve yet,” Lewis said. “I’m going to go home and have a really good cry.”

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach Lindstrom at 412-380-8514, nlindstrom@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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Published at Sat, 24 Mar 2018 02:24:54 +0000

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