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Waives hearing

| Friday, April 6, 2007

A Connellsville woman accused of attacking city police after she was arrested for letting her children, ages 3 and 6, wander the parking lot outside a tavern waived her right to a preliminary hearing Thursday.

Monica Powell, 30, of 206 N. Cottage Ave., was charged with public drunkenness and two counts of endangering the welfare of children, as well as aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.

She will be arraigned on all charges at 9:30 a.m. May 17 in Fayette County Court.

Police spotted the children at 10:30 p.m. March 19 outside Rumors Bar at 125 S. Pittsburgh St. in 25-degree weather. The children were crying and told police their mother drank too much and fell down, according to court records.

Powell was on the ground, police said, with her head covered. She was observed to be extremely intoxicated, with bloodshot eyes and slow, slurred speech, Patrolman Michael Long reported.

Powell was taken to police headquarters, where officers notified Fayette County Children and Youth Services. At the station, Powell allegedly tried to punch Sgt. Ronald Haggerty Jr. and pushed him.

Powell remains lodged in Fayette County Prison in lieu of $20,000 cash bond.

Her children were placed with their father.

Uniontown

Robbery spree

suspect pleads guilty

A Vanderbilt man charged in a Fay-West robbery spree could face 30 to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday.

Seth James Annis, 21, of Vanderbilt, will face sentencing May 3 for robbery, theft, criminal conspiracy and simple assault before Judge Steve Leskinen in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas.

Annis' attorney, Jack Connor, asked Leskinen to consider the defendant's drug addiction during the sentencing phase.

"The basis for all of the offenses was drug addiction," Connor said. "He could use any help he can get. He's had a serious and continuous problem."

Annis admitted to robbing the Pechin Express store in Connellsville on Aug. 28, as well as Pletcher's Farm Market on Route 711 in Champion; the U.S. Post Office in Tarrs; and the Golden Apple Fruit Stand in Bullskin Township on Aug. 30.

Annis' alleged accomplice, former girlfriend Lindsey Renee Weimer, 21, of Vanderbilt, has not yet entered a plea in the case.

She is charged with a count each of robbery, aggravated assault and receiving stolen property.

As part of his sentencing, Annis likely will have to pay a portion of the $697 in restitution to Pechin, Pletcher's and Golden Apple. The robbery in Tarrs was not successful.

Jefferson Township

Man apparently shoots

self after pursuit

self after pursuit

State police at Belle Vernon reported Thursday night a white male apparently shot himself after a pursuit by Perryopolis Borough police earlier in the day.

Perryopolis police initiated a traffic stop at 3:30 p.m. on the individual for a National Crime Information Center hit on his registration as a wanted person. The man stopped and then fled the scene in his vehicle. A pursuit ensued on Route 51, then onto Route 201 and Perry Road.

The man drove his vehicle off the roadway through a field and came to rest in a creek bed. He then fled on foot.

State police said Perryopolis police continued to pursue the suspect on foot into the woods. The suspect stopped behind a tree, brandished a handgun, and after being told to put the firearm down and lie on the ground, apparently shot himself in the head. He later died from his injury at The Uniontown Hospital.

State police are withholding his identity pending notification of family.

Mt. Pleasant

New police cruiser

involved in wreck

Mt. Pleasant police may soon be looking for a new cruiser after a wreck early Thursday disabled one of two new Ford Crown Victorias.

A police car driven by veteran Officer George Grippo collided with a vehicle driven by Joshua McClain, 21, of Acme, on Church Street at 1:30 a.m., borough police Chief Stephen Ober said.

Ober said McClain crossed into the northbound-traffic lane of Church Street, hitting the police cruiser nearly head-on. Police were responding to a domestic call at the time of the wreck, Ober said.

Neither Grippo, 41, nor his passenger, auxiliary police officer Justin James, 21, were seriously injured. They were treated at Excela Frick Hospital, as were McClain and a passenger in his car, Kelly Baker, 20, of Mt. Pleasant.

Scottdale police are investigating the wreck through a reciprocity agreement with the borough. Scottdale police were not available for comment.

"We need more than one cruiser," said Ober, who was waiting to hear whether the police car was a total loss.

Ober said the borough may have to rent a car until the damaged one is repaired or a new one is purchased.

The Crown Victorias cost $20,600 each, Ober said. The borough secured state grants to purchase two new cars in January.

Georges Township

Inquest finds driver

not at fault in fatal crash

A Fayette County coroner's jury said Thursday that a Nicholson Township man's death in a two-vehicle crash in 2005 was caused by an avoidable accident.

Steven R. Sage, 35, died Dec. 6, 2005, at the scene of the crash on Route 119, near Second Street in Georges Township.

According to state police Cpl. Joseph D'Andrea, a crash reconstruction showed that James St. Clair, who was driving north, hit his vehicle's brakes and turned his Ford Windstar to swerve away from Sage's southbound pickup, which crossed the center line.

"He had no other chance of doing anything else," D'Andrea said of St. Clair, who did not appear at the inquest.

The six jurors determined that St. Clair was not at fault for the crash.

They also said Sage's blood-alcohol level of 0.227 percent might have been a contributing factor in the crash.

-- Staff reports

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