"Sam" Unidentified Male Died September 3, 1986 in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County
Estimated Age: 17 to 25 years old (probably early 20s) Estimated Height: 6' Estimated Weight: 200 lbs Hair Color: Black Eye Color: Brown Race/Ethnicity: May have been of American Indian or Mexican/Hispanic descent. Other: no distinguishing marks, scars or tattoos Clothing: cloth headband; cloth wristband; blue jeans, Levi Strauss Co. SF Cal, 36" to 38" waist, 30" length; brown moccasins; black socks; a black, sleeveless t-shirt with the inscription "We sleep, eat, drink, breathe, love and ride Harley Davidson" on the front.On the back was Mile High with a picture of an Eagle and Denver, Colorado. There was also an emblem with the word "Twins" with a V over it superimposed over a clock face. Size, XL. Small manufacturing logo: 1985 Rocky Mountain High. He was carrying a wallet with "The Who" on it and $2.02 in U.S. currency. Fingerprints: Available Dentals: Not available. He had perfect teeth. DNA: Not available Cause of Death: Multiple trauma.
Case Details On September 3, 1986, at around 4am, an unidentified male, possibly a drifter who may have been hitchhiking, was struck and killed by a tractor trailer truck while he was standing in the eastbound lane of Interstate 70, about 1/2 mile west of Route 51.
As traffic backed up on the highway behind the accident scene, two other tractor trailers collided. One of the those was carrying paint and paint thinner and the force of the crash caused a spectacular explosion and fire, shutting down the highway for hours.
In the investigation that followed, it was found that truckers had seen the man on the eastbound lane and were warning each other by CB to look out for him, but the trucker who hit him had no CB in his truck. When he saw something in front of him, he attempted to swerve to the right, but didn't have the time to avoid the impact. The victim was found to have been legally intoxicated at the time he was hit.
He apparently had spent some time in a bar in West Newton. A woman who had been at the bar told police that the man told her that he had worked with horses in New Jersey. Another bar patron said that the man's name was Sam.
The Council of Three Rivers Indian Center contacted American Indian tribes in Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico and newspapers in those states ran stories about the man, but nobody came forward with information as to who he might be.
Authorities contacted race tracks in New Jersey but, again, nobody came forward.
His fingerprints were run through NCIC, but there were no hits.
The logo on the t-shirt "Sam" was wearing was traced to a motorcycle shop in Denver, CO, but it was one of 6000 that had been produced.
The young man known only as "Sam" was buried in an unmarked grave on December 5, 1986 at the Twin Valley Memorial Park in Delmont. The grave and vault were donated by the cemetery, the casket was provided by an anonymous donor.
If you have any information about this case, please contact:
Westmoreland County Coroner's Office Deputy Coroner John Ackerman 724-830-3636