Former Slippery Rock resident Bryant L. Atwell Jr., 31, was one of two people who died Thursday in a three-vehicle accident involving a school van in Cranberry Township, Venango County, state police said. Atwell, a Kennerdell resident, was the passenger in a 2001 Toyota RAV4 driven by his cousin, Michael Falla, 23, of Dover, Del., who also died in the crash, which occurred just before 7 a.m. in the 600 block of Route 157, police said. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.
A 2015 Chevrolet Traverse school van, driven by Julie Sollinger, 55, of Cranberry Township, Venango County, and carrying a 17-year-old female student from the Cranberry Area School District, was stopped in the eastbound lane waiting for oncoming traffic to clear before turning left into a driveway, according to police. Police said Falla didn’t observe the van and swerved left to avoid it. His car hit the rear of the van and spun clockwise into the westbound lane directly into the path of a 2013 Subaru Outback driven by Christina Cohlhepp, 39, of Tionesta, police said.
He graduated from Slippery Rock High School. Bryant was last employed at K & A Mining as a equipment operator. He had previously been self employed, owning and operating Mr. B’s Landscaping & Firewood.
Bryant was married to Danielle Drake on July 14, 2007, together they have two children Kendra and Kristian.
Bryant enjoyed being outside whether it was 4-wheeling on his quads or his truck or taking his kids fishing, he was in his element. He and Danielle took their kids on many camping trip as a family. Bryant was an avid hunter, especially liking deer and goose hunting. There wasn’t an engine he couldn’t fix and you could find him tinkering in his garage if you stopped by his house. Him and his buddy Michael Falla loved to play a game of pool as well. Bryant will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
Loved ones left to cherish Bryant’s memory are his wife Danielle and their children Kendra and Kristin of Kennerdell, His father Bryant Atwell Sr. and his wife Kim of Kennerdell, His mother Kimberly Guiney of Slippery Rock, his brothers Jeremiah Atwell and his companion Pamela of Slippery Rock, Zachary Atwell of Kennerdell and his companion Sara and Joshua Atwell and his companion Rachael of Kennerdell. His Nieces and nephews Lauralie, Addison, Harper, Isaac and Olivia, Paternal grandmother Jessie Biddle of Stoneboro, Paternal grandfather Neil Atwell Sr. of Kennerdell. Maternal grandfather Howard Link of Slippery Rock. His aunts and uncles Neil Atwell and his wife Janine of Grove City, Ed Atwell and his wife Robin of Kennerdell, Angel Knox of Stoneboro, Faith Mong and her husband Barry of Sandy Lake, Brenda Shick and her husband Mark of Kennerdell. His mother and father in law Timothy and Elizabeth Drake and his brother in law Mark and his wife Anna of Portersville