The Tri-County Report for December, 5th 2014

Tri-county Report for December, 5th 2014

Two New Castle men have been arrested in connection with an armed robbery in the city Wednesday night.  21 year old Jamal Ware and 22 year old Bryant Binns are both facing a number of charges. According to the New Castle News the two men allegedly robbed a woman in her McGrath Avenue apartment Wednesday night while the three of were watching television. Binns is charged with three counts of robbery, two counts of aggravated assault and a number of other charges.  Binns allegedly put a gun to her back and told her to give him her purse.  Ware is being charged with two counts each of theft and receiving stolen property along with conspiracy to commit robbery.  Both men were arraigned and placed in the Lawrence County Jail on 50 thousand dollars bond.

A woman suspected of murdering Greenville area businessman Frank Crash is being held without bond in the Mercer County jail. 33-year-old Tracy Linn Hassel was arraigned Wednesday before a magistrate in Greenville after being transferred from the State Correctional Institution in Muncy, where she was already incarcerated when she was charged with the Crash murder last month. According to the criminal complaint, police believe Hassel knew Frank Crash, and broke into his home on July 25 of last year during an attempt to steal money. Police believe that Hassel stabbed Crash 76 times and then stole a diamond ring from his finger and the money from his pockets. Hassel, who is charged with murder, theft, robbery and burglary, is scheduled to appear before the magistrate on December 15 for a preliminary hearing.

A fire displaced about 33 residents of Buchanan Manor apartments in Weathland Wednesday night. Crews were called to the apartments about 11:45 p.m. after a fire broke out in a third floor apartment. All residents made it out of the apartments safely. About 17 people were housed for the night across the street at the Wheatland Methodist Church. They have since been moved to a local motel. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army are assisting the residents, who are mostly elderly.

The record spending in Pennsylvania's 2014 gubernatorial race has now surpassed $82 million. Campaign finance reports filed Thursday show most of the total - more than $60 million - was spent by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf. The remaining $22 million was spent by the three Democratic candidates whom Wolf defeated in the May primary.Overall, Corbett raised and spent about $28 million, while Wolf raised and spent about $32.5 million.

A man is recovering after being shot in the head in Butler.  Police say the victim was shot last month when someone fired at least 14 shots into his East Walnut Street home.  By the time police arrived, everyone in the residence had fled the scene, including the victim.  When officers finally spoke to him four days after the incident, he had still not gone to have the slug removed from his head.  When he went for treatment, he was also found to have a fractured skull. 

Officials are investigating the cause of a fire that damaged a restaurant in Hempfield.  The flames broke out in the kitchen of the Olive Garden along Route 30 late Wednesday night and quickly spread into the ceiling. The facility's sprinkler system was activated and firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze quickly.  No injuries were reported.  Officials are not yet sure when the restaurant will be able to reopen.

Unemployment rates are down in Washington and Greene counties.  The rates for October were released yesterday and showed a drop from the previous month.  The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry says Washington County's jobless rate in October was 4.7-percent and Greene's was 3.9-percent.  Both counties' rates are also two points lower than they were last year and below the national and state averages.

 A driver was injured Wednesday evening in a one-vehicle accident along Route 65 in Wayne Township that knocked out electrical service for about four hours in the vicinity of Wayne Township Fire Hall. According to the Ellwood City Ledger, the  Wayne Township Fire Department said the driver went off the road shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday and struck a utility pole. Fire department personnel could not identify the driver, but said that state police transported the driver to a hospital. No other details were relesed.

Health officials are warning people that the flu shot may not be as effective this year. The CDC says a strain of the flu that was predicted to be the most prevalent this year has mutated, meaning that this year's flu vaccine won't be as effective. Health experts say it's still important to get the flu shot because it will provide protection against other flu viruses.

Pittsburgh protestors are taking to the streets following the recent grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner.  A large group of people gathered outside the August Wilson Center for African American Culture on Liberty Avenue and marched down Smithfield Street to Fifth Avenue.  The protestors participated in 'die-ins' where they laid down on the ground and blocked the road.  Police were on hand to make sure the protests stayed peaceful.  No arrests were made.

A Washington County man is facing charges for attempting to lure a child into his vehicle for sex.  Timothy Hughes was arrested last month after making inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old girl on Facebook and SnapChat, and then showing up at her house to pick her up.  The girl's family members took a picture of Hughes before he drove away and detectives were able to identify him using the photo.