Tri County Report For September 3rd, 2019

A Mercer County man has been accused of trying to strangle someone for the second time in three months. According to state police 31 year old  Justin Hile of Mercer Borough was on house arrest for a previous offense when he attempted to strangle a 33-year-old Sharon woman on Mercer-Grove City Road in Findley Township. Hile has been charged with strangulation, assault, and harassment. The alleged incident happened as Hile is waiting for trial on charges of strangulation, assault, and criminal mischief filed after a June 1st incident.


A woman is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty last week of killing her boyfriend with her car in Cranberry Township during a domestic dispute in March 2018.  Jessica Royall was found guilty by the jury of involuntary manslaughter and other charges in the death of 27-year-old Ryan Minett.  Investigators said Royall was drunk and had cocaine in her system when she drove about a half-mile with Minett hanging from the side of her vehicle.  Royall’s sentencing date hasn’t been set.

State Police in Butler County report a fatal accident over the weekend in Fairview Township. According to police 51-year old Katherine Steighner of Petrolia was driving on Fairview Road when she failed to negotiate a curve near Old Surface Mine Operation Road. The vehicle slid on the wet roadway, hit a hillside, and then rolled onto the passenger side and struck several trees. A passenger, 57 year old Dennis Steighner was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Katherine Steighner was taken to Butler Memorial Hospital for unknown injuries.

A corrections officer at Allegheny County Jail is accused of bringing drugs inside the lockup last week.  A Suboxone package was found inside Jared Swierczynski’s wallet during a routine employee inspection as they enter the jail.  Then, more drugs were found in his car.  Swierczynski with charged with one count of contraband and drug charges Thursday evening.

State Police in Lawrence County report a two car accident in Scott Township. The crash took place around 10:15 Friday night on Harlansburg Road. The New Castle News reports two people were in one of the cars, and one was in the other. Two helicopters landed at the Scott Township Firehall to transport at least two of the injured. No other details were available.

Several groups of volunteers from Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas are in place to assist in the recovery from Hurricane Dorian.  Teams with Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue headed to South Carolina to help clear out shelters for animals before the storm.  Also, several specialized ambulance units from Fayette and Washington counties are southbound to help after the storm.

After three years of fundraising to reopen the Beaver Falls wave pool, Tyrone Zeigler says he is nearly at his goal.  The 41-year-old tells the Beaver County Times he’s within 80-grand of his half-million-dollar goal while some local businesses pledged labor or materials for the pool’s repairs.  The pool closed in 2002 because Beaver Falls officials said the cost of maintaining it was too much.

A suspect who was accused of robbing a Cranberry Township bank late last month was apprehended by police over the weekend. Michael Neppach is accused of robbing the PNC Bank on Route 19 last Wednesday.  Officials say that Neppach entered the bank just before 5pm, and was holding a note that said he had a gun. Neppach faces charges including robbery.

The K-Mart in the Lawrence Village Plaza is closing. According to the New Castle News a spokesperson said A liquidation sale is expected to begin in mid-September and the store is planned to close by mid-December. n 2017, Kmart signed a lease to remain at Lawrence Village Plaza for at least five more years. Plaza owner Chip Harrup, who purchased the site in an online auction in July 2017 for $2.3 million, said Friday that he had not been informed of a planned closing.