Tri County Report For April 10th, 2018

Investigators say a Butler woman threated to kill Butler County’s district attorney because he refused to prosecute a case involving her.  Officials say 25-year-old Brittany Hartos called the National Crisis Hotline on Saturday and made the threats against DA Richard Goldinger.  Hartos was taken into custody and the DA’s office is referring Hartos’ case to the state attorney general for prosecution.

Several hearings are being held over the next two weeks on several bills aiming to change Pennsylvania’s gun laws.  House Judiciary Committee Chairman Ron Marsico says he wants to hear from more of his colleagues on how to prevent gun violence in Pennsylvania during two hearings tomorrow and Wednesday.  Officials say two more hearings are set for next week as well.

State Police in Butler County report a one vehicle accident yesterday morning in Jackson Township. According to police 22 year old Germel Phillips of Pittsburgh was southbound on Interstate-79 when she lost control of her vehicle, traveled into the median and struck guardrail. Phillips who was wearing a seatbelt was treated at the scene with minor injuries.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey continues to distance himself from the pack when it comes to what’s in his campaign coffers.  According to campaign finance reports filed March 31st, Casey raised about two-point-two-million-dollars over the last quarter of the year, leaving him with more than ten-million total in reserve.  Casey’s closest competition, U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, was able to raise one-point-three-million during the first quarter of 2018, giving him a total of one-point-six in reserve.  Campaign finance reports for two others running to replace Casey, Jim Christiana and Dale Kerns, show the two each have less than 20-thousand-dollars in their campaign accounts.

The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board is suggesting adding dry leaf marijuana as a form of medicine, which could lower costs.  Officials on the board say it takes more marijuana and more time to make the concentrated oil, driving costs higher.  Officials say the dry leaf would have to be vaporized to be utilized properly.  PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine has up to a year to approve the board’s suggestions.

In the first quarter of the year, the Pennsylvania State Police seized more than $5 million worth of drugs from across the state. Officials said more than 20 pounds of heroin and 1.5 pounds of fentanyl were confiscated as a result of drug trafficking investigations. The 21.5 pounds of heroin and fentanyl alone have a street value of about $579,000. In 2017, the state police seized more than $41 million worth of illegal drugs total.

Pennsylvania is calling for a temporary stop of testing for self-driving cars that share technology with Uber.  PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards says the state needs to re-evaluate guidelines involving those tests following a deadly crash in Arizona last month, involving a self-driving car.  Pennsylvania currently does not require companies testing automated vehicles to submit any paperwork with state regulators.

A teacher at West Mifflin High School is expected to be charged with institutional sexual assault of a student.  WPXI-TV reports a teacher was interviewed by police last week and removed from the school, then placed on administrative leave.  It’s reported the teacher is a longtime district employee.

A PennDOT official says everyone displaced by the Route 30 landslide will get the help they need to get a new place to live.  Some of the families displaced were given information packets Monday explaining what assistance is available.  Crews continue to clean up the dirt and debris from the landslide the destroyed the apartment building.