Tri County Report For April 14th, 2020

Police in New Castle say the suspect wanted in a homicide from last week has turned himself in. Juan Aviles Suarez was wanted in connection with the shooting death of 26 year old Eiram Alfonso Santiago-Hernandez, Thursday night at the Oak Leaf Gardens housing complex. Suarez was arraigned and placed in the Lawrence County Jail.

Governor Tom Wolf says Pennsylvania is joining a group of Northeastern states in planning to gradually reopen local businesses following the coronavirus pandemic.  In an announcement Monday night, Wolf said the Commonwealth is in stage one of a three-stage process, with officials trying to buy time for the health care system to build capacity to handle patients.  Next, he says, is the transition toward a new normal from how Pennsylvanians are currently living before the new normal sets in during the virus’s aftermath.  Wolf said the timeline for that transition is dependent upon a drop in COVID-19 cases and an increase in the manufacturing of products needed to combat the virus.

The number of people infected with the coronavirus in Pennsylvania continues to rise, now up to 24,199 across the state. Those numbers include  51 in Lawrence County, where there are also four deaths from the virus, and 43 cases in Mercer County. The total number of deaths in Pennsylvania is now up to 524 as of Monday.

Western Pennsylvania residents will not be able to keep buying liquor in Ohio during the coronavirus crisis.  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued an order yesterday that bars the sale of booze to out-of-state residents.  Liquor stores in counties along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border will be required to check ID’s to slow the flow of people who cross state lines for their whiskey, vodka and gin.  The exodus was created, in part, by the coronavirus-related shutdown of liquor stores in Pennsylvania.

The aisles at all Giant Eagle grocery stores are now one way in an effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.  Most stores began to soft-roll-out the plan over the past few days to help shoppers achieve a proper social distance from each other.  Some stores have placed security guards outside the building to help keep lines entering the building organized.

State police say they’re still trying to determine what caused a one-vehicle crash that injured a woman in Jackson Township last week.  The 31-year-old from New Castle was driving on I-79 southbound Friday morning when she lost control of her S-U-V.  The vehicle left the road, and rolled up on its side after climbing an embankment.  The woman suffered minor injuries.

A planned property tax reassessment for Beaver County may be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Last week, the county’s chief solicitor said the actual assessment could be postponed for several weeks, though they don’t expect the delay to change their overall timeline.  The Beaver County Times reports the initial timeframe of going home-to-home starting at the end of this month won’t happen.  The entire reassessment process is expected to take just over a year to complete.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald wants Pennsylvania’s upcoming Primary Election to be held exclusively by mail.  Fitzgerald implored state officials to use the emergency declaration to order a ballot be mailed to every registered voter prior to the June 2nd election.  In a statement Monday, Fitzgerald said that holding an in-person election in the middle of the pandemic would be a disaster.

Aliquippa residents are doing their best to honor their late police chief amid the COVID-19 outbreak.  Dozens of residents maintained their social distances yesterday during a two-mile-long procession for Chief Rob Sealock.  Police from across the region led the hearse carrying Sealock through the city as residents held signs and waved flags.  Sealock passed away last week from a medical emergency while on duty at the age of 49.