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2 men charged with vandalizing trail bridge

| Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, 6:03 p.m.

Officers with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have charged two Westmoreland County men with vandalizing the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail Bridge in Somerset County.

James Cameron, 25, and Jacob W. Bradshaw, 26, both of Stahlstown, were charged with knocking down and driving over a gate on the northern side of the bridge, then driving through a large section of chain link fence on the southern side of the bridge that crosses the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Somerset.

The Aug. 30 incident resulted in more than $5,000 worth of damage, according to state officials.

The pair were arraigned on charges of criminal mischief, reckless driving, trespassing and violation of government traffic rules before Confluence District Judge Sandra L. Stevanus.

The charges were filed by Chief Ranger Jeremy Peck of Laurel Hill State Park.

The bridge is owned by the Bureau of State Parks and is part of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a 70-mile corridor running north and south through state park lands and Forbes State Forest.

The bridge crosses the turnpike about midway between the Somerset and Donegal exits. It was reopened January 2012 after a $1.3 million reconstruction project to replace a nearly 40-year-old span that had become unsafe.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled Oct. 17 before Stevanus.

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