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New charges filed against Shipley

| Thursday, May 10, 2012, 8:41 a.m.

A Cambria County man has been charged with criminal homicide in connection with a head-on crash in Somerset County last month that killed a Ligonier Township resident, the city editor for the Johnstown newspaper.

Authorities also filed a charge Friday against Randy Shipley Jr. for allegedly carrying a gun without a license. Police hold Shipley, 19, of Johnstown, at fault for the two-vehicle crash on Route 271 in northern Somerset County that killed Michael L. Elswick, 33, on July 23.

Because of the new charges, Shipley's bond for release from the Somerset County Jail was increased to $200,000. He previously was charged with receiving stolen property, aggravated assault, driving without a license, participating in an accident that involved a death and failure to stop to provide information to authorities.

Police arrested Shipley in Ligonier Township on the night of the crash after a six-hour manhunt.

A witness told Conemaugh Township police that Shipley had been driving a Ford Explorer erratically, abruptly swerving across the center line and striking Elswick's Jeep Cherokee head-on. The incident, near Laurel Mountain State Park, occurred at about 2 p.m.

Police have said Shipley was driving a vehicle owned by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission that he stole in Connellsville on the morning of the crash.

Elswick was driving from his home to his evening-shift job as an editor at the Tribune-Democrat newspaper in Johnstown, where he had worked since 1996. He was promoted to city editor in March.

An autopsy performed at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Johnstown, determined Elswick died from a severed spinal cord.

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