Irwin police chief assaulted
Irwin police Chief Joe Pocsatko was hospitalized briefly on Wednesday after a North Huntingdon Township man allegedly assaulted him at the borough police station.
Pocsatko said he is expected to miss four to six weeks of work after separating a bone in his right hand while defending himself against 25-year-old Randolph Steven Piper at approximately 8:30 a.m.
The chief said Piper came to the station complaining about speeding motorists and refused to show identification.Pocsatko said when he obtained that information by checking Piper's vehicle's license plate, Piper got too close to him. He was escorted inside the station, where he grabbed a telephone and swung at the chief.
“He did strike me,” Pocsatko said. “He did hit me in the face ... I subdued him myself, then my backup escorted him upstairs because my hand was incapacitated. He didn't know I was a chief, but he knew I was a police officer. I had the uniform on.”
Piper sustained a head injury. The chief and Piper were taken to Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital and released.
Piper was arraigned on aggravated assault charges Wednesday afternoon by North Huntingdon Township Magisterial District Judge Douglas R. Weimer and taken to Westmoreland County Jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 19 at 9 a.m.
Pocsatko said he'll consult a specialist for his injury on Thursday to determine if surgery is needed, and will contact Mayor Daniel Rose to see who will be in charge of the department in his absence.
Pocsatko has been an Irwin officer for 15 years and chief for three years.
“I've fought suspects before, but not for awhile,” the chief said. “(No one's come to the station) to challenge me.”
Pocsatko said Piper is from West Virginia, but has a North Huntingdon Township address and a history of assaulting officers.
Part of that history includes being charged by Morgantown, W.Va., police with battery on a police officer and obstructing officers in July 2010, Pocsatko said.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt suspends cornerback Howard
- Body found beneath Tarentum Bridge believed to be jumper
- Police target 17 in Mon Valley drug investigation
- Steelers rookie says Sam, his former roommate, has changed
- Steelers extend Suisham’s contract through 2018
- 2 cars strike horse near Fayette fair
- Driver describes fireworks-spooked horse that struck SUV near fairgrounds
- Rossi: Buying trust is a must for Pirates
- Turbine sites near properties in Fayette County threatened
- 2 people wounded in North Side shooting; third incident in 3 days
- Washington County man guilty on child porn charges