Tri County Report for January 8th, 2018

An elderly New Castle man is safe after escaping an early morning house fire.  Crews say they were called to the 900 block of Marshall Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Sunday for a fire that may have started with a space heater near a sofa.  The house is a total loss.

Six of 10 women who have accused a White Township man of rape testified about their experiences of being picked up by the man in Beaver Falls and taken to a second location where they said they were assaulted. According to the Ellwood City Ledger 32 year old Jonathan Vance is accused of raping the women at different points of a 15 month period that started in 2016. All six of the women said that, at the time of their respective assaults, they were regularly accepting money for sex. Most of the women said they were addicted to drugs at the time. Four more women are expected to testify during a third day of the hearing, which is yet to be scheduled.

State Police in Butler County report a two vehicle accident in Center Township. According to police 46 year old William Lamark of Wall Pa., lost control of his car traveling south on Onedia Valley Road and was struck by a car operated by 23 year old Brittania Fedorek of Chicora. Fedorek and a three year old passenger were taken to Butler Memorial Hospital for treatment. Police said Lamark was charged with driving under the influence.

2018 is shaping up to be a bad year for the flu in Western PA.  Allegheny County Health officials say reported flu cases are up nearly 50-percent over last year.  They say the county has 13-hundred-79 flu cases so far this season.  While some say this season’s flu vaccine is only ten-percent effective, officials say that has not been proven.

A New Castle woman was not hurt following a one car accident in Slippery Rock Township Saturday afternoon. According to State Police 36 yearold Mary Perry was north bound on Route 65 when she lost control of her car and spun out of control and struck a utility pole. Police said the right door of the vehicle was ripped off during the accident.

It now costs six-percent more to take the Turnpike.  The anticipated hike took effect Sunday for the toll road users.  This makes the tenth consecutive year that PA Turnpike tolls have risen.  The state’s Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, says he’s concerned this latest increase will decrease traffic. DePasquale is launching an audit of the agency’s finances.

The wife of Leechburg’s former police chief says she is devastated and blindsided after her husband’s child-sex related charges.  In an emailed statement, Danielle Diebold says the actions of Mike Diebold aren’t consistent with the man she knew.  She adds that it is like the man accused of soliciting sex from a 14-year-old on the internet is a different person than her husband, but in reality, they are the same.  Police say Mike Diebold was arrested Friday at a Sheetz in Lower Burrell thinking he was meeting the teen.

The third day of the PA Farm Show highlights careers in agriculture and education.  Today many of the events will focus on science, technology, engineering, and math careers in agriculture. The evening’s big event is the Square Dance Parade and Competition in the Large Arena at 6:45 p.m.

A nine-year-old boy is expected to be okay after falling 15 feet from a Boyce Park ski lift.  Officials say they were called to the Plum attraction around 1:15 p.m. Sunday.  First responders say the boy was alert when they arrived.  Officials add the boy was taken to the hospital as a precaution.