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October 15, 2010

UNDATED - Two people are dead today after separate crashes in Lycoming County. The first fatal crash happened just after 5:30 this morning on Route 87 near Lambert Hill, south of Dushore in Sullivan County.  State Police say 18-year old Chad Jacquier of Avoca, New York died when his car went off the roadway; down an embankment and into a tree. He was not wearing a seat belt. In a crash shortly after 9:30 this morning a dump truck ended up on its side and the driver was trapped when the truck caught fire. That crash happened at Wallis Run Road and Logue Hill Road in Gamble Township, Lycoming County. No information is available yet from state police on the identity of that victim.
(WGRC/WRAK)

NORTHUMBERLAND - A tractor-trailer carrying plastic pellets overturned this morning in Northumberland County. The truck hauling pellets for strong Strong Industries along Route 11 in Point Township flipped over in front of Mohawk Doors about 6 this morning today. The trucker was not injured.
The Daily Item reports, fire and rescue personnel from Northumberland and Point Township responded. The load of plastic pellets were being transferred to another trailer to be transported to Strong Industries just north of the accident scene along Route 11.
(WGRC)

JERSEY SHORE - A Clinton County woman escapes injury when her car catches fire after a crash yesterday. 28-year old Brianne Linn of Lock Haven, was driving on Nice's Hollow Road in Porter Township at about 1:30 yesterday afternoon, when she suddenly noticed a huge tree across the road in front of her.  She was unable to stop her car on the wet roadway before it slammed into the tree. The car then caught fire. Linn was able to escape unharmed from the vehicle. Fire crews were able to put the fire out. Nice's Hollow Road was closed for about an hour while emergency crews cut the 70-foot Oak tree into pieces and removed it from the road.
John Callahan (WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - State police are trying to determine how a blasting cap ended up in a Lycoming County motel room. The small explosive used to set off other explosives was found Wednesday afternoon under a bed at the Econo Lodge on East Third Street in Loyalsock Township. Police are just releasing the information. Authorities said the blasting cap was secured and removed from the motel.
No one was hurt. Anyone with information about the blasting cap is asked to call state police at Montoursville.
(WNEP)

SHENANDOAH - A Schuylkill County man is arrested on pornography charges. The State Police Northeast Computer Crime Task Force, as a result of an ongoing online investigation, filed charges of manufacturing child pornography and several related counts against 36-year old Jonathan Binns of Shenandoah. Binns was arrested yesterday and is jailed in lieu of $300,000 straight cash bail.
John Callahan (WGRC)

MIFFLINTOWN - A boy attacks three others in Juniata County. Troopers say a 14-year old boy from Honey Grove attacked three others at Juniata High School football field in Fermanagh Township last Friday night. He stabbed two of the others who range in age from 17 to 12 with a butterfly knife and punched a third in the face. The boy is charged with aggravated assault. The victims suffered only minor injuries. The incident wasn't reported until yesterday. Police continue to investigate.
John Callahan (WGRC)

 WILLIAMSPORT - Police in Lycoming County seek a man on a felony warrant. Old Lycoming Township Police Department is looking for 36-year old Brian Jacobs.  A warrant was issued after police charged Jacobs with several counts of theft and fraudulent business practices.  The criminal charges are the result of Jacobs taking money from several victims and failing to perform negotiated paving work.  Jacobs's last known address was 2016 Lycoming Creek Road, Williamsport. He no longer lives there.
Anyone with information about Jacobs's whereabouts is asked to contact Old Lycoming Township Police.
John Callahan (WGRC)

STATE COLLEGE - In Centre County, the State College Police Department filed disorderly conduct charges today against six people for their involvement in a large fight that happened during the early morning hours on Sunday.  The initial fight occurred inside the 797 Lounge and then continued outside on the 100 block of South Burrowes Street.  The original altercation inside the 797 Lounge involved two women.  The women were asked to leave because of their disorderly actions.  Shortly thereafter, a physical alternation continued outside between these same women and numerous other individuals. The State College Police Department continues to investigate both stabbing incidents that occurred last weekend, one at the Knights of Columbus on October 9th and the other outside of the 797 Lounge on October 10th.   Detectives continue to search for the person or persons responsible for the stabbings that took place during both of these large fights.
John Callahan (WGRC)

NORTHUMBERLAND - A busy highway will probably be very congested this morning in Northumberland County after a tractor trailer crash. The crash happened on Route 11 in front of the Mohawk Doors plant in Point Township. We're being told the tractor trailer did tip over on its side and there are injuries in the crash. No word as to what the rig was hauling. That crash happened right around six this morning. Motorists are being advised to us an alternate route or plan for long delays on Route 11 this morning.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

BERWICK - A man threatening to plunge from the Berwick-Nescopeck Bridge forced police to close the span while rescue crews prepared for a river search Thursday night. The search was not needed as the 37-year-old man did not jump. He agreed to walk to a police car and be taken for a psychological evaluation at a hospital. The Press Enterprise reports, drivers crossing the bridge just before 8 p.m. spotted the man straddling a rail and called 9-1-1. While officers went out to the bridge, the fire department readied for a possible river rescue. The man from the Berwick area didn't resist police as he calmly got into a police car ending the incident.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SELINSGROVE - A Sunbury woman has been charged with fleeing and eluding police following a chase. That happened Wednesday just before noon on Routes 11 and 15 at Dundore Road in Snyder County. Police say 28-year-old Heidi Yocum was spotted speeding and when police tried to stop her she sped off, cutting off other drivers and passing vehicles on the berm of the highway. She was eventually caught in heavy traffic and has been charged with a long list of crimes including Reckless Endangerment, eluding police and various traffic violations.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

SCRANTON - Guilty of a hate crime. That is the verdict for two men from Shenandoah accused in the beating death of an immigrant from Mexico. The federal jury came back with its decision shortly after 5 p.m. It took jurors six-and-a-half hours to make their decision. When they did, 20-year-old Derrick Donchak, and 18-year-old Brandon Piekarsky, hung their heads. Found guilty on all charges, they were then led away in handcuffs. Both were found guilty of a hate crime for the deadly beating of illegal Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez in 2008. Now, the two face the possibility of life behind bars when sentenced. Sentencing is set for January 24. Donchak and Piekarsky have been ordered to be locked up until that time.
(WNEP)

DANVILLE - A Danville man accused of shooting a hunter while turkey hunting in Montour County pleaded not-guilty to the nine charges filed against him. 44-year-old Michael Kelly is charged with shooting 52-year-old Jeff Blue of Danville on May 31st. On Wednesday he presented the not guilty plea in Montour County Court. Kelly is charged with failure to render aid, reckless endangerment, simple assault and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon among other counts. Kelly is being held in the Montour County Prison. Police say Kelly fled the scene of the shooting with his uncle so he wouldn't get in trouble for possessing a firearm. His uncle, 75-year-old Samuel Kelly, pleaded guilty to not helping Blue after the accident and will be sentenced on a later date.
(WGRC)

WILLIAMSPORT - A week after being fired from his $60,000-a-year job, the former executive director of the Shamokin Redevelopment Authority admitted in federal court Thursday to mishandling more than $8,000 in federal funds. 50-year-old Brian Jeremiah, of Shamokin, pleaded guilty in U.S. Middle District Court to defrauding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He faces a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. He remains free on bail pending sentencing, which has not been set.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

POTTSVILLE - A judge in Schuylkill County called a plea deal between prosecutors and defense lawyers too lenient. She rejected a plea agreement for a woman who admitted stealing $163,000 from an elderly woman. Michelle Connors admitted her guilt to stealing $163,000 from 91-year-old Mary O'Donnell of Frackville. Prosecutors said Michelle Connors befriended Mary O'Donnell and then used $163,000 of the elderly woman's money to buy clothing, a car and jewelry. She also allegedly paid off the Connors home, bought concert tickets and withdrew $93,000 cash. The case now goes to trial. Connors is free on bail. No word when she'll stand trial in Schuylkill County court.
(WNEP)

ATLAS - A school bus transporting young adults was seen traveling from Atlas to Mount Carmel on Thursday morning. But instead of heading to classes, they were en route to the magisterial district judge's office for arraignment on multiple drug offenses. A total of 43 individuals were charged Thursday by members of the Northumberland-Montour Drug Task Force in one of the largest drug busts conducted in the Mount Carmel area. Confiscated in the raid, which began at 7 a.m. and culminated at approximately 2:30 p.m., were marijuana, cocaine, heroin, an assortment of prescription pills valued at several hundred dollars, a couple hundred dollars in cash and other drug items. The bust was the result of a seven-month investigation spearheaded by Mount Carmel, Mount Carmel Township, Kulpmont police along with the  Northumberland County District Attorney's Office. The vast majority of the defendants are street-level dealers and repeat offenders. Most of the suspects are in their 20s and from the Mount Carmel area. They were rounded up at their homes by approximately 30 members of the drug task force or transported to their arraignments from Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury, where they were already serving time on unrelated offenses.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

LEWISBURG - The Lewisburg school board will meet in a work session October 21st to discuss the options for the future of facilities in the district. After years of meetings, a facilities study created by architect Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates and some consternation from the public about what to do with the existing high school, the board will weight a list of options. Meanwhile, the Daily Item reports, the board heard from representatives from the Greater Susquehanna YMCA that it would be interested in using the Lewisburg Area High School building at Route 15 and Market Street - if the board decides to no longer use the building as a school. The public will get a chance to comment on the outcome of that work session during a public hearing set for 6:30 p.m. October 28th.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

YEAGERTOWN - The Mifflin County Regional Police Board of Directors are conducting an investigation regarding the reported transfer of over $23,000 by its former administrative assistant, Jeri Minnick-Dukes, from one of the department's bank accounts into her personal account. The transfer allegedly happened September 24th. The Sentinel reported the board is reviewing documents in order to evaluate if Minnick-Dukes was entitled to the money and if she was authorized to make such a transaction. The board held a special meeting September 30th  and sent a letter to Minnick-Dukes regarding the reported transfer. The letter requested Minnick-Dukes return the funds she reportedly transferred to her account. It's unknown if Minnicks-Dukes made a response to the letter, and the investigation continues.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

YEAGERTOWN - The Mifflin County Regional Police Board of Directors approved a motion to suspend service to Armagh Township at the township's request during the board's regularly scheduled meeting Thursday evening. Armagh Township Solicitor Jeff Stover tells the Sentinel, he recently discovered a problem regarding documentation for police service with the township. Stover said an ordinance was never passed by the township authorizing the intermunicipal agreement with MCRPD to provide law enforcement services. As a result, the township is requesting that MCRPD cease providing its police coverage. Pennsylvania State Police would now become responsible for law enforcement within Armagh Township.
Jim Diehl (WGRC)

HARRISBURG - Landmark bipartisan legislation that will dramatically reform Pennsylvania's current laws addressing abandoned or dilapidated properties has cleared the Senate Thursday. Senate Bill 900, known as the Neighborhood Blight Revitalization and Reclamation Act, passed the Senate unanimously, further aiding the effort for local communities throughout Pennsylvania to fight blight and repair or demolish dilapidated properties. Earlier this week, the legislation was returned to the Senate for approval following technical amendments made by the House. Senate Bill 900 provides that if any real property is in serious violation of a building or housing code, the municipality may institute an action to prevent, restrain, correct or abate the violation. The bill moves to the Governor for his signature.
(WGRC)

HARRISBURG - A measure which allows a person to take lethal force if necessary in a public place to defend themselves passed the Pennsylvania Senate Thursday. The Senate voted 45-4 to approve legislation that is called the "Castle Doctrine." Under the measure people already have the right to use deadly force without first retreating if someone breaks into their home. As amended by the Senate, House Bill 1916 says a person in a public place, where the individual has a right to be and is not engaged in any criminal activity, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground. Under such circumstances, a person can use deadly force if they are being attacked and the person believes that the use of force is necessary to protect against death, serious bodily injury, rape or kidnapping. Essentially, this legislation eliminates a person's duty to retreat before using lethal force outside of his home, business, or vehicle. The legislation now goes back to the House of Representatives for concurrence. The House is expected to take up the bill when it returns to session, possibly as early as next week.
(WGRC)