Church members push for change after boy’s death


West Hempfield Township police officers were on Marietta Avenue on Tuesday to investigate where 12-year-old Kerlous Sorial was struck and killed.

“It’s like a part of us has been ripped out,” said Daniel Kaldas, a member of Saint Mary’s Coptic Church.

Police said Sorial and his family were walking across the street to the church when he was hit by two cars Saturday evening.

Kaldas, who taught Sorial during Sunday school at the church, and other church members are pushing for a change. He said church members have to park across the street and then cross Marietta Avenue to get to services.

There is no traffic signal or crosswalk.

Kaldas said church members are risking their safety when they cross Marietta Avenue for worship.

The church asked PennDOT to do something in 2010 when a pregnant mother was struck, but Kaldas said they got nothing.

“We were very saddened by that,” he said. “Unfortunately, it led to this situation.”

PennDOT officials call the location of the church unfortunate. 

Fritzi Schreffler, a PennDOT spokeswoman, said federal standards dictate that the church is too close to an intersection to get a crosswalk. She said until Tuesday, township officials had failed to ask about the possibility of reviewing the issue.

Kaldas said the church is planning a move, but he said by the time anything is done, it could be too late to prevent another tragedy.

“There has to be something done here for the safety of our congregants using the current church,” Kaldas said.

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