Tri County Report For July 20th 2017

The semi-truck driver from Saratoga Springs, Utah has entered a not guilty plea on charges relating to a deadly crash on Interstate 76 in North Jackson, Ohio last month that killed 53 year old Mark Schaas of New Castle. Robert Brock was charged in the deadly crash that sent three other peopel to the hospital.  Officials say Brock was driving a semi when he struck the rear of another semi driven by Kevin Roberts of Fort Wayne, Indiana, forcing that semi into a car driven by Schaas. WFMJ-TV reports Brock who remains in the hospital recovering from his injuries,  told investigators he did not see that traffic had stopped for a work zone but has not been able to explain why.

The trial of an alleged herion dealer got underway yesterday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.  The New Castle News reports 44 year old Frank Elias Christian of Friendship Street, is accused of selling nearly 12 thousand dollars worth of herion to a confidential informant in February of last year. Christian is being charged with delivery and possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communications facilty.  The trial is expected to last through the rest of this week.

The trial for the teen who allegedly stabbed 21 people at Franklin Regional High School is being postponed until September.  A judge agreed Tuesday to delay the proceedings so Alex Hribal’s legal team has more time to prepare.  Hribal, who is 19, is in prison on 21 counts of attempted murder.  Police say Hribal used kitchen knives in the 2014 rampage.

A man is in hot water for allegedly taking up residence in a woman’s Connoquenessing Township home.  Police say the homeowner got back from vacation earlier this month and found Jonathan Moody sitting on her bed, watching cartoons.  The victim told Moody to get out, which he did.  He is facing burglary and criminal trespass charges.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is preparing to cite PWSA for failing to replace several lead lines.  State environmental officials gave the utility a full year to replace more than 13-hundred water lines throughout Pittsburgh.  However, PWSA had only replaced 415 lines by the June 30th deadline.  DEP has not said how much they will fine PWSA for not meeting its obligations.

Pennsylvania is one of only four states without a budget.  Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, lashed out on Twitter yesterday saying Democrats “want to tax your natural gas bill at home.”  Democrats want a new tax on gas drilling pointing out the state is the only one in the nation that does not have one.  Republicans say they will fight any tax increase.

The Lawrence County Commissioners are scheduled to vote next week on undertaking a transportation study that targets state Route 65 and Route 422 in Shenango Township. The Ellwood City Ledger reports County Commissioner Dan Vogler said the study would mirror one already completed along the Route 18 corridor in New Castle and Neshannock Township. Findings of the study would be used to develop planning for the area around the two roads. Most of the study’s funding, $80,000, would come from a federal planning grant, made through the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission. With a 20 percent local match required, the county and Shenango Township will commit $10,000 each for the study.

A Farrell man is in custody after trying to light a rug on fire near the door of a residence. Police believe the man is behind a string of arsons that have plagued the city. The Sharon Herald reports 59year old John Burns is charged with arson, danger of death or bodily injury and causing or risking catastrophe. The investigation is continuing.

State Police in Butler County report a two vehicle accident in Slippery Rock Township.  According to police 82 year old Dorothy Minehart was southbound on Centerville Pike road and was stopped at the intersection of Stoughton Road, when she pulled from the intersection and was struck by a car operated by 22 year Danielle Combs of Mercer. Both drivers were taken to Butler Memorial Hospital for treatment. Police said Minehart was cited.