Delmont resident will face trial in road-rage incident
A Delmont man, whom police said sucker-punched another driver who cut him off in traffic, will face trial in Westmoreland County Court for the incident that allegedly left the victim with a concussion and bleeding on his brain.
Robert E. Crise, 38, of 201 E. Pittsburgh St., originally faced charges of simple assault and harassment for the Dec. 1 incident in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Murrysville.
But Assistant District Attorney Chuck Washburn added a charge of aggravated assault at the beginning of Tuesday's preliminary hearing before Export District Judge Charles Conway because of the extent of the victim's injuries.
The alleged victim, Jamey L. Campbell, 43, of Latrobe, testified that he and his girlfriend June McGraw were driving to the Wal-Mart store to shop when he realized he was in the left lane of travel on Hollywood Boulevard when he should have been in the right.
He said he made a quick move to get into the right lane in front of a white Hummer, cutting off the other vehicle.
Campbell said he proceeded to the store and parked in the lot. He then noticed the Hummer had parked across the traffic lane from him.
“I got out and said, ‘I'm sorry for cutting you off,'” Campbell testified.
Campbell said he didn't remember the man, whom he identified as Crise, saying anything to him.
He said the last thing he remembers was looking over at his girlfriend when she grabbed him by the sweater and asked him to go into the store.
Then he woke up in an ambulance.
McGraw testified that she heard Crise say that Campbell had cut him off.
Then Campbell replied, “People get cut off all the time,” McGraw testified.
She said the two men started with a back-and-forth argument, and approached each other until they were an arm's-length apart.
McGraw said that's when she grabbed Campbell's arm to get him to go into the store. When her boyfriend looked at her, Crise punched him in the head.
“Mr. Crise said, ‘I warned him. I warned him,' and then ran to his vehicle,” McGraw said.
Defense attorney W. Jeffrey Leonard questioned Campbell's behavior that day and whether he was aggressive toward Crise.
“Did it ever occur to you, sir, what you should do is stay in your car?” he asked Campbell.
Campbell said he didn't recall raising his fists, and McGraw said she didn't see him do that either.
However, a witness at the scene told Murrysville police that he saw Campbell crack his neck and raise his fists in front of him just before Crise struck him.
That witness has not responded to police requests to provide a written statement and did not appear for the hearing yesterday.
After he was punched, Campbell fell to the ground, hitting his head on the pavement, McGraw said.
“He was unconscious,” she said. “I could see the blood coming out onto the pavement.”
Campbell said he was first taken to Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg and then UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland.
He suffered a concussion, a laceration and bleeding on his brain. He was in the hospital for three days and missed five days of work. He works as a machinist and a meat cutter.
Campbell said he suffers headaches about every other day as a result of the incident.
But Leonard questioned whether Campbell's injuries were severe enough to warrant an aggravated assault charge, saying Campbell returned to work and has not sought follow-up medical care since the incident.
Washburn argued that someone who hits a defenseless person should know that serious bodily injury can result, and that there was no evidence presented that Campbell was a willing participant in a fight.
Conway agreed to let all the charges proceed to the county level, saying prosecutors had a right to prove during trial whether Campbell's injuries were serious enough for the aggravated assault charge.
Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 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.
- Latrobe infant found in filth, police say
- East Deer man chastised by Westmoreland judge, paroled, released
- Fickle weather gives pumpkin growers in Pennsylvania fits
- Officials criticize West Newton code enforcement officer
- Greensburg mayor race features write-in hopeful vs. businessman
- Hempfield woman bounces back from serious car crash
- Greensburg’s College Avenue apartments to be finished by December
- Westmoreland subsidy that helps finance Spirit Airlines draws scrutiny
- Man pleads guilty to assaulting girl, 14, in Westmoreland
- Fire damages home in Greensburg
- Monessen man gets long prison term, then gets married