Week in review: Election Day upsets, accused cop killer trial and Wilson’s Bar-B-Q fire
The past week in Western Pennsylvania featured Election Day surprises, a death-penalty trial and a fire at a beloved Pittsburgh restaurant. Here’s a look back at some of the top stories you may have missed.
By late 2021, the 552 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be fully converted to a “cashless” tolling system, turnpike commission officials said. After a pair of pilot conversions — including on Turnpike 66 in Westmoreland County — the remaining sections of the east-west mainline, the Northeastern Extension (I-476) and the Mon/Fayette Expressway south of Pittsburgh are scheduled to be converted in the fall of 2021.
New sheriff in town
A shake-up is coming to the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office, but no one will lose their job in the process, the new sheriff-elect said after defeating the two-term Republican incumbent. Voters selected James Albert, 69, a Democrat from New Alexandria, over Jonathan Held to take over the office that in recent years was marred by lawsuits, criminal charges and personnel controversies. Albert retired in 2016 after serving for nearly three decades as a district judge in Greensburg.
Surprise Biden visit
When Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald claimed victory Tuesday night in his race for a third term, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was there to congratulate him. “This is a helluva man and a helluva family,” the former vice president said of Fitzgerald at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 5 in Pittsburgh’s South Side. Fitzgerald spent 11 years as president of county council prior to running for the county’s top post in 2012. He defeated Republican challenger Matt Drozd.
The owner of Wilson’s Bar-B-Q on Pittsburgh’s North Side said Wednesday he is sorting out what the future holds after a fire destroyed his popular business the night before. George Wilson Jr. said the North Taylor Avenue building, where he also lived, doesn’t appear to be insured. Before his father, George Wilson Sr., died in October 2018, he told his son the insurance was paid up for a year. Wilson said he had been researching policies during the past few weeks. The Red Cross is putting up Wilson and his girlfriend, Lynn Hogan, at a hotel.
death penalty trial
The trial of accused cop killer Rahmael Holt began. Holt is accused of shooting New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw on Nov. 17, 2017. Westmoreland County prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against Holt if the jury convicts him of Shaw’s murder. The trial featured testimony from eyewitnesses and forensic experts. Shaw was chasing Holt, who police said was fleeing from a traffic stop.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .