The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

July 11, 2014

Local and state briefs 7/12/2014

New Paris biker dies in collision

A Bedford County man died when the motorcycle he was driving hit a car head on, state police in Bedford said.

The wreck happened at 4:40 p.m. Thursday on Mountain View Drive in Napier Township, Bedford County.

State police said 40-year-old Jason T. Simons of New Paris was going around a right-hand curve when his motorcycle traveled into the opposite lane and into the path of a car operated by Karin  M. Sedewar, 62, of Cairnbrook.

Simons, who was operating a 2008 Harley-Davidson and wearing a helmet, died at the scene.

The driver of the car had minor injuries, police said.

Injuries claim life of Tyrone man, 84

A Tyrone man died from injuries suffered in a one-vehicle crash Wednesday in Antis Township, Blair County, authorities said.

State police in Hollidaysburg said Andy Teeters, 84, was a passenger in a 1998 Dodge Caravan that traveled off Bell-Tip Road while rounding a curve at 1:25 p.m. The van hit an embankment and struck a tree.

Troopers said Teeters died from his injuries at UPMC Altoona. The driver, Bernice A. Shultz, 72, of Tyrone, suffered moderate injuries. Neither was wearing a seat belt, troopers said.

Indiana County man charged in porn case

An Indiana County man was one of eight men arrested during the past week as part of the effort by the state attorney general’s office to target the online sharing, downloading and distribution of child pornography.

John O’Harra, 42, of the first block of Wilgus Road, Hillsdale, was taken into custody Tuesday and charged with four counts of possession of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a computer, said Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.

O’Harra was lodged in the Indiana County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Woman gets probation in fundraiser scam

A Somerset woman will spend a year on probation for selling discount fundraising coupon booklets that she falsely told people would benefit a 4-year-old girl with cancer.

In reality, state police said, 33-year-old Mandy Klinkner kept all $2,000 she raised instead of giving it to the sick girl and the Sheetz convenience store chain.

Sheetz offers the books as a fundraising vehicle. Each sells for $10; Sheetz is supposed to get $8 and the fundraiser keeps $2.

The (Somerset) Daily American reported Klinkner was charged with theft but was allowed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct under a plea agreement in April.

She was sentenced Thursday by Somerset County Judge John Cascio, who told her, “There are some crimes that really upset me. This is one.”

Klinkner also must repay the money.

Delays expected when road project begins

Work will begin Monday to upgrade a busy Portage area intersection. But the $511,735 project likely will mean traffic delays over the next few months, PennDOT said.

Road repaving, roadway widening, sidewalk and drainage improvements are all planned at the Route 164 and Dulancey Drive intersections, PennDOT District 9 spokeswoman Tara Callahan-Henry said.

Johnstown-based contractor HRI Inc. was awarded the project.

Temporary traffic signals will be added and PennDOT flaggers will be stationed at the work site to direct traffic around construction, Callahan-Henry said.

Nighttime work also will occur, and motorists are advised to seek alternate routes if possible.

The work is expected to be complete by mid-November, Callahan-Henry said.

Doctor to study teen stabbing suspect

The district attorney has gotten court permission to hire a doctor to mentally evaluate a 16-year-old boy charged in a mass stabbing at a high school in Murrysville.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review his office needs an expert to examine Alex Hribal so he can respond to a defense request to move Hribal from a juvenile detention center to a secure mental health facility.

A judge has yet to rule on that motion by Hribal’s defense attorney, who claims the boy’s mental condition is deteriorating and he needs psychiatric care.

Hribal is charged with stabbing 20 fellow students and a security guard at Franklin Regional High School.

He’s charged as an adult in the April 9 attack, but his attorney wants the case moved to juvenile court.

Counselor pleads in false kidnap case

A woman who provided court-ordered domestic counseling services has pleaded no contest to charges that she falsely reported being abducted and sexually assaulted by a client.

Cindy Brumbaugh, 51, of Howard, faked the report to cover up her affair with the man, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said.

“The defendant’s actions initiated a full-on sexual assault investigation into a man she knew was completely innocent,” Parks Miller said.

“She was willing to see her patient prosecuted for kidnapping and rape to simply hide that she had an extramarital affair with him so she could preserve her counseling license and her income.”

Defense attorney Stephanie Cooper declined to comment.

By pleading no contest, Brum­baugh chose not to contest the prosecution’s case. She didn’t acknowledge guilt, though the plea is treated as a conviction.

The man was court-ordered to be counseled by Brumbaugh in March 2013. Parks Miller said the two began a romantic relationship, which came to light when both were involved in a car crash during a tryst.

Brumbaugh was charged in September, a few weeks after state police said her husband found out about the crash.

Brumbaugh claimed the man had forced her to accompany him, but investigators said text messages between the two showed otherwise.

Body in river identified as man swept away

A body found in the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh’s 40th Street Bridge has been identified as that of a Westmoreland County man swept away by fast-moving currents near a boat dock days before.

The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office said the body found in the water Monday is that of 74-year-old James Tulenko of Irwin.

He was seen going under the water about 3:50 p.m. Friday near the Fox Chapel Yacht Club. Tulenko was wading in chest-deep water when he appeared to lose his footing and was swept away.

Emergency crews responded to two reports of a body floating in the river Sunday, but both turned out to be debris.

The medical examiner’s office used dental records to confirm the identity of the body.

Jury: Sheriff not guilty of making threats

The Beaver County sheriff was found not guilty of assault, terroristic threats and witness intimidation after a five-day trial.

Jurors delivered the verdict Friday afternoon in the trial of Sheriff George David.

Prosecutors had claimed David threatened a news blogger with a gun in 2012 while being questioned about whether bidding procedures had been followed in buying deputies’ uniforms.

But David testified that the blogger wanted him to intercede on behalf of the blogger’s domestic partner, a police officer who was in danger of being fired for horsing around with a stun gun on duty.

David said the verdict “shows you how far a lie can go.”

Inmate convicted of plot to kill judge

A state prison inmate is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of trying to hire another inmate to kill the Gettysburg judge who had sentenced him for burglary and theft four years ago.

The Evening Sun of Hanover reported that jurors in Carlisle found 47-year-old Lance Greenawalt guilty Friday of plotting to kill Adams County Common Pleas Judge Michael George.

The paper said the plot came to light after the other inmate tipped off a Camp Hill State Prison guard that Greenawalt talked repeatedly about having George killed.

State police then got a wiretap for Greenawalt’s cell, and the recording showed Greena­walt telling the other inmate how to stake out the judge, shoot him in the head and hide the evidence.

Ball caps banned for Pittsburgh police

Pittsburgh’s new public safety director wants uniformed police officers to stop wearing baseball caps by Sept. 1.

Spokeswoman Sonya Toler told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Director Stephen Bucar believes “You dress the part.”

Bucar doesn’t believe baseball caps look professional. He wants officers to wear their uniform hats, which include a black-and-gold checkered band based on the city’s crest.

Officer Howard McQuillan, president of the police union, said the uniform hats can get too hot, especially if an officer is in the sun directing traffic or performing other similar duties.

McQuillan said he’s concerned officers might rebel and create disciplinary problems by refusing to wear the hats.

 With or without the hats, he said, “We’re professionals in an honorable job.”

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