Truck driver jailed in scuffle with trooper on Route 30 in Unity
A tractor-trailer driver from Unity is accused of scuffling with a state trooper who pulled him over on Route 30 near Wimmerton for allegedly impeding traffic.
Duane M. Winchell, 65, was arraigned on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, harassment and violating minimum-speed regulations before on-call Hempfield District Judge Mark Mansour. Winchell was placed in the Westmoreland County Prison, having failed to post $20,000 bond, court records show.
State police at Greensburg reported that the incident began about 10:15 a.m. Saturday, when Trooper Eric Zona saw Winchell driving a blue Freightliner tractor with an Illinois registration plate west on Route 30 near a McDonald's restaurant in Unity.
Zona initiated the traffic stop when he observed Winchell driving at a slow speed in the passing lane and “honking his horn,” Trooper Geoffrey Wills reported in an affidavit of probable cause filed before Unity District Judge Michael Mahady.
Zona reported that Winchell was “impeding traffic” and causing backups.
When Zona approached Winchell's truck, the trucker appeared agitated, Zona told Wills.
“As Zona approached the driver's side window, Winchell got verbally aggressive with Zona. Being that Trooper Zona was having trouble hearing what Winchell was saying, due to heavy traffic passing, Zona stepped up on the side of the truck to speak to Winchell,” Wills wrote.
“At one point, Zona warned Winchell to calm down or he was going to make the situation worse. Winchell then told Zona to come and get him and waved him on,” Wills said.
Zona retreated from the truck and ordered Winchell to step out of the vehicle. When Zona told Winchell he was going to place him in handcuffs while he gathered information on why Winchell was driving slowly, “Winchell grabbed (Zona) around the neck, and a scuffle ensued,” Wills wrote.
Zona broke free, subdued Winchell and placed him in handcuffs, the affidavit said.
Zona suffered a scratched and bruised neck, according to police.
Wills took written statements from Route 30 travelers who witnessed the confrontation and telephoned 911 dispatchers. The witnesses indicated they would be willing to testify at court proceedings, police said.
Winchell's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 18 before Mahady.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-850-2860.
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.
- Rival Westmoreland vape shops develop own specialties
- 10 escape Greensburg house fire
- Greensburg torture killer Marinucci returns to court seeking lighter sentence
- 3 injured in crash that ties up Route 22 in Salem for nearly 8 hours
- Three teens injured in one-vehicle crash in Hempfield
- Unity to decide July 9 on disputed gas station
- St. Vincent professor, students use interviews for drug addiction data
- Mt Pleasant police officer assaulted while making arrest
- Hempfield Area balances budget with 1.79-mill tax increase
- Route 119 ramp to Route 819 to be closed in July
- Last barrier to Monsour Medical Center demolition about to fall