THE WEEK IN REVIEW
Here is a look at the top stories of local interest published in The Indiana Gazette during the week of July 14-20.
SUNDAY, JULY 14
A 6-month-old child ejected from a careening pickup truck Saturday on the Route 422 bypass “miraculously” escaped serious harm, an official said, and authorities are considering charges against the drivers involved in a purported road-rage confrontation that imperiled the infant. State police so far have withheld the names of the people involved in the incident.
It began on Route 954 near Coy, where the truck driver became incensed by a motorcyclist, took chase toward Indiana and followed the motorcyclist onto the westbound lanes of Route 422, according to Trooper John Matchik, a spokesman for state police at Indiana.
As the speeding vehicles approached the Route 119 exit, the driver lost control of the truck and plunged down an embankment, he said.
MONDAY, JULY 15
The Indiana County Coroner’s Office and state police at Indiana said Kelly Jo Pape, 40, of 8549 Route 217 North, Blairsville, was killed in a motorcycle crash Sunday evening in Blacklick Township.
Police said Pape was a passenger on a motorcycle driven by James Seelig, 29, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., that hit a deer about 8:27 p.m. Sunday on Route 217. Seelig and Pape were both thrown from the motorcycle in the collision. Seelig was taken to Memorial Medical Center, Johnstown, for treatment of serious injuries, according to officials.
TUESDAY, JULY 16
A Rural Valley man and woman were charged with furnishing alcohol and tampering with evidence in connection with the drowning deaths of three young Kittanning-area men in May in South Mahoning Township.
State police at Indiana charged Karly Ann Good, 22, of 255 Brown Road, with selling or furnishing liquor or brewed beverages to minors, and charged Larry Pompelia, 58, of 469 Mutton Hollow Road, with tampering with or fabricating evidence in the deaths of Sean Titus, 20, of Iron Bridge Road; Zane McMillen, 19, of Ferne Drive; and Cody Douglas, 19, of Freeport Road. The three young men drowned early May 5 when they were trapped in a pickup truck that overturned in a pond on private property along a country road about four miles northeast of Plumville.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 17
The Indiana County Municipal Services Authority has been awarded nearly $7 million in grants and loans for two water service expansion projects, the county’s legislative delegation announced Tuesday.
According to the delegation, about $4.4 million from Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority is being put toward a project that will serve the Parkwood area and the county’s new Windy Ridge Business & Technology Park. In addition, roughly $2.5 million is to go to a project to improve service in the Alverda, Cherry Tree and Uniontown areas.
THURSDAY, JULY 18
The region continued to broil under oppressively hot weather conditions, with the National Weather Service issuing hot weather advisories for temperatures in the 90s and a heat index above 100 degrees.
FRIDAY, JULY 19
A Pennsylvania state police trooper acted properly July 7 when he fatally shot a Brush Valley man who had pointed a handgun at him, Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said Thursday.
Dougherty said the trooper’s actions were justified under provisions of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, which authorizes the use of deadly force in the prevention of the commission of a crime.
According to state police reports and court documents filed in connection with the incident, state troopers Chad Corbett and Gary Wilson responded to the residence of Gary and Mary Wissinger at 5395 Route 56 in Brush Valley, after Mary Wissinger phoned 911 to report a domestic dispute.
As they tried to make contact with the residents, Corbett saw Gary Wissinger through the front door holding an object in his hand, and Wissinger ignored Corbett’s order to drop it. Wissinger then opened the screen door and pointed a handgun at Corbett, who was standing about 10 feet away, investigators wrote in an affidavit filed later at Clymer District Court.
Corbett drew his own weapon and fired six to eight rounds at Wissinger, who retreated from the troopers’ view. Several hours later, officers from the state police Special Emergency Response Team found Wissinger dead in a bedroom.
SATURDAY, JULY 20
A man is being accused of molesting two children at a day care center run by his sister, who herself faces charges for allowing him on site despite knowing of his alleged actions.
According to state police in Indiana, Crystal L. Pfeiffer had been told that her brother and next-door neighbor, Todd R. Swaynie, might have twice touched a 7-year-old girl inappropriately, once last summer and again this year.
In addition, Pfeiffer had received a complaint that Swaynie tried to pull another girl’s pants down in an incident that occurred about 10 years ago.
Yet, police said, she let Swaynie be around her home-based day care, called Crystal L. Pfeiffer Family Day Care, at 3161 Dixonville Road in Grant Township, thereby risking the welfare of all of the children who were enrolled. As a result, she is facing eight counts of child endangerment, according to court papers. Meanwhile, Swaynie, 44, is facing two counts each of aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors, and indecent assault and a single count of attempted indecent assault.