The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 13, 2014

Local and state briefs 7/14/2014

Storm brings down trees, limbs

A fast-moving storm that rolled through the region Sunday brought down trees and limbs throughout both counties, Somerset and Cambria 911 officials said.

A Cambria 911 supervisor said wires were knocked down in Portage Borough along Johnson Avenue.

Numerous reports were phoned in about trees or limbs falling onto roadways including Hall Street in Brownstown, Ridge Avenue in Johnstown, Leila Street in Southmont, and Mendel and Vickroy avenues in Ferndale, the supervisor said.

Power outages were reported throughout southern Cambria County and Somerset County’s northern tier, according to FirstEnergy’s online outage map. Most were reportedly minor, affecting few customers, although outages potentially impacting 500 or more customers were being investigated in the Beaverdale area and in the Eisenhower Boulevard area near the Somerset County line late Sunday.

Cyclist hurt when he strikes parked car

A man in his 70s was hospitalized Sunday after he struck a parked car while riding his bicycle, Upper Yoder Township police said.

The man was traveling in the 2100 block of Franklin Street late Sunday morning when his bike hit the car, Officer Brian Pritt said.

It’s possible the man had a health-related issue that caused him to wreck, Pritt said.

The man, whose name was not released, was taken to Memorial Medical Center by ambulance for treatment of unknown injuries, Pritt said.

Nationwide contests $18M award in lawsuit

An insurance company that was tongue-lashed in a decision last month by a Pennsylvania judge is contesting his ruling that it pay $18 million in punitive damages after a long court battle over faulty repairs to a family’s vehicle in 1996.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. on Friday asked Berks County Judge Jeffrey K. Sprecher to reconsider a decision believed to be the largest punitive award ever handed down in Pennsylvania in a lawsuit accusing an insurer of bad faith, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

Sprecher ruled in June that he agreed with Daniel and Sherri Berg that Nationwide had concealed evidence about faulty repairs to their Jeep Grand Cherokee, tried to cover up the conduct of its employees and relied on a strategy to discourage policyholder challenges in court by artificially inflating the cost of suing the company.

In his ruling, Sprecher said Nationwide spent more than $3 million to defend its actions in a claim over the Bergs’ Jeep that it should have replaced for $25,000.

Nationwide insists the company did not act in bad faith and that no one at the firm ever believed the Bergs’ vehicle was unsafe after it was repaired.

Body falls out of coroner van, lands in road

A body on a gurney fell out of a coroner’s van when a door malfunctioned, sending the corpse into the middle of a busy roadway in suburban Philadelphia.

The Bucks County Courier Times reports the accident happened around noon on Friday near a shopping center in Feasterville.

A photo on the newspaper’s website shows the corpse, wrapped in what appears to be a white sheet, lying in the street as cars buzz by. The Bucks County coroner’s office said the driver realized immediately that the door had opened and retrieved the body within minutes. The office says it “deeply regrets” the incident.

 

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