Butler County News

Drunk Butler Co Man Charged w/ Agg Assault, Pointed Loiaded AR-15 at Trooper

After allegedly pointing a loaded automatic rifle, safety off, at a Pennsylvania State Trooper Sunday night, a Butler County man Aggravated Assault charges.  The Kittanning state police report the incident happened shortly after 11:30 pm  along the 300 block of Star Grille Road, in Winfield Township, Butler County.  The troopers , from the Kittanning Station,  were dispatched at 12:07 a.m. Monday morning to investigate an assault against two uniformed troopers from the Butler station located at 361 Star Grille Road near the city of Butler.  That is the address of Richard W. and Bridget Gniewkowski. 

According to a news release from the Kittanning Troopers, the Butler troopers were dispatched to the Gniewkowski residence for a burglar alarm.  As the Butler troopers arrived they checked the back door and confirmed it was secure, then proceeded around to the front door to make contact with the homeowner.  One of the Butler Troopers knocked on the door while the other watched the home through a sliding glass door.  That's when the trooper observing the residence through the sliding door saw a man pointing a black rifle directly at him through the sliding glass door.  The trooper immediately alerted his partner and both withdrew their service weapons and announced themselves as Pennsylvania State Police.  When they ordered the man inside with the rifle to drop his gun, he responded with profanity and refused.  The troopers continued to verbally identify themselves and ordered the man to drop his weapon.  Both troopers took evasive action, one however, observing the man with the gun inside the residence was still pointing the gun at him through the sliding glass door.  While continuing to verbally indentify themselves and ordering the man to drop his weapon, one of the troopers maneuvered to the patrol vehicle and activated the siren and emergency lights.  The trooper then switched on the Public Address system and again ordered the subject to drop the weapon and come out of the residence with his hands up.  Shortly after , the subject exited through the back door with his hands up and proceeded to follow verbal commands before being taken into custody. 


Police say Richard W. Gniewkowski, 53, was identified as the homeowner and appeared to be severely impaired, slurring his speech and unable to formulate coherent sentences.  An AR-15 style assault weapon was found to be loaded with the safety in the off position.  There were no injuries reported.  Gniewkowski is charged with two counts of Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Disorderly Conduct.  Charges were filed in District Court.  A Preliminary Hearing is set for Wednesday April 19th before Magisterial District Court Judge Sue Haggerty at 9 a.m.  Until then Gniewkowski is lodged in Butler County Prison, unable to post bond set at $25,000 straight.  In all Gniewskowski is charged with 8 criminal acts: two felonies, four misdemeanors and two summary charges.  He is not yet represented by an attorney.  


Long term lane restrictions planned next month for a resurfacing project on Interstate 79 in Butler County

Indiana, PA – Long term lane restrictions are planned for I-79 North beginning this week and continuing through early May from north of Exit 78 (SR 228-Cranberry) and south of Exit 87 (Zelienople).  Once that work finishes, long-term lane restrictions will be in place on I-79 South in the same area.

The restrictions will be in place for a resurfacing project on I-79 in Cranberry and Jackson Townships, Butler County.

Nighttime paving operations will follow this work.  Restrictions will be in place nightly between 6:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M., except Friday northbound restrictions begin at 9:00 P.M., and Sunday southbound restrictions begin at 9:00 P.M.

Work on I-79 includes milling, patching, and paving from Exit 76 (Cranberry) and Exit 88 (Little Creek Road) in Cranberry and Jackson Townships.

This $16.7 million Interstate resurfacing project is being constructed by Lindy Paving, Inc., and is expected to be completed by the end of October. 


Motorists should expect congestion and delays in heavy traffic volume periods.  Remember to slow down and use caution in work zones.  Fines are doubled for violations in work zones.  Drive responsibly for your safety and the safety of the workers.


Butler County School District Defendant in Federal Suit Over Lead Levels in Water

A Butler County school district where high levels of lead in an elementary school's water went unresolved for months faces a federal lawsuit.

The school, Summit Elementary, was closed for two days in January after Butler School District Superintendent Dale Lumley said he learned the problem hadn't been rectified since it was detected in August.

The school is closed indefinitely for unrelated problems with E. coli in the wells from which the school's water is drawn.   Students began classes Monday in another previously closed  school.

According to a notice on the district's web site Lumley resigned Sunday.  So far he has had no comment on his decision

Attorneys for Jennifer Tait and her daughter, Jillian, who attended Summit Elementary, are hoping a federal judge in Pittsburgh will grant class-action status in their case, which would let other students exposed to lead in the water join the lawsuit.




Butler Superintendent Resigns Following Grade School Water Issues

A water crisis at a district elementary school is what drove a Butler County school superintendent to resign Sunday night.  The following statement appears on the Butler Area School District website home page:

The Board of School Directors has accepted Dr. Dale Lumley’s resignation with intent to retire, effective immediately.  Dr. William Pettigrew will serve as Acting Superintendent, pending the Board’s appointment of a new Superintendent.

The resignation was effective immediately. 

Summit Elementary School was forced to close and students relocated to a previously closed school building.  Students began classes Monday at Broad Street Elementary School in Butler.

Summit was closed for two days about two weeks ago after high levels of lead were found in its water. Further testing last week found E. coli bacteria in the well that supplies the school, prompting it to be closed indefinitely.

Superintendent Dale Lumley acknowledged high lead levels found in water tests in August hadn't been rectified.    Dr. William Pettigrew will serve as Acting Superintendent, pending the Board’s appointment of a new Superintendent.


The Butler County District attorney is trying to determine if anybody is criminally liable for the water problems.


Butler County Woman Dies "Exiting" Moving Car

Multiple media sources report state police are investigating the death of a woman who either jumped or fell out of a moving car in Butler County.  The Allegheny County medical examiner says 53-year-old Alexis Arthur died of head trauma. She died early Tuesday in a Pittsburgh hospital, where she was flown after she was injured shortly before 7 p.m. in neighboring Butler County.

That's where state police say Arthur exited the moving car on Route 228 in Clinton Township. Troopers haven't said whether Arthur or someone else was driving, let alone how or why she exited the vehicle.


Troopers from the Butler barracks say in a news release they are continuing to investigate the incident.


Police: Man fatally shot wife for urging him to kill himself

According to online court records, the Butler State Police arrested a Butler County man who  told them he fatally shot his wife after first trying to kill himself and then hearing her taunting him and encouraging him to shoot himself.

Court records confirm Thirty-year-old Joshua Crawford was jailed early Monday following a pre-dawn arraignment before Magisterial District Judge Lewis Stoughtan in Butler County on charges of criminal homicide and aggravated assault.  He is lodged in the Butler County Prison without bail. 

According to media sources, police say Crawford and 30-year-old Sarah Crawford were arguing at their Donegal Township home Sunday night when he decided to take his own life.  Additionally, the sources say police report  Joshua Crawford told them the gun wouldn't fire and his wife continued to call him names and urge him to shoot himself, so he turned the gun on her and fired.  State police investigators found her on a couch and dead of a gunshot wound to the chest.


Online court records don't list an attorney for Crawford, but he has been advised of his right to apply for assignment of counsel, he has requested a public defender and has been provided an application for appointment of a public defender. A finger print order has been issued.   The online court records  indicate Crawford scheduled for a preliminary hearing before Judge Stoughton on Tuesday December 20th at 1:30 pm at Chicora Borough Hall.   (Docket Number: MJ-50302-CR-0000451-2016)  A Butler State Police news release was not immediately available.  


School bus crash sends 5 students, driver to hospital

(AP) — Authorities say five elementary school students and their school bus driver were taken to a hospital with possible minor injuries after a crash involving a pickup truck in western Pennsylvania.

State police in Butler County say the Summit Elementary school bus was carrying 20 students in Summit Township when it drifted into the other lane just before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and collided with the pickup, which was pulling a trailer.


Police said the bus went through a guardrail, tearing off its front axle, and came to rest upright on the grass shoulder. Police said the bus driver and five students were taken to Butler Memorial Hospital with possible minor injuries.


Fenelton Man Charged w/Simple Assault of Wife

A Butler County man is charged with simple assault following a Saturday afternoon incident in which he allegedly struck his wife across the face with a large stack of mail.  Police say the incident happened at a residence along Dusty Lane in Fenelton, Clearfield Township, in Butler County.  The 30 year woman, according to the state troopers was in an argument with her 29 year old husband when she said her husband struck her across the face with the stack of mail.  The stack of mail hit her lip causing her to have a small cut across her bottom lip.  The woman also related her husband left the residence and she went to the Armstrong County Memorial Hospital approximately two hours after the incident.  The incident is now under investigation by the Butler State Police.  


Zelie PD Probes Apparent Public Suicide

A 35 year old Portersville woman is dead, apparently the victim of a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head Tuesday.  Authorities report Elizabeth Adams died after apparently shooting herself along a Main Street sidewalk in Zelienople.  While an active investigation is in progress, authorities say the incident appears to be a suicide. 


The county coroner is yet to pronounce any finding on the cause of death, not is the motive for the shooting known.  Police are talking to witnesses.  There were no other people injured during the incident.  


UPDATE: School district IDs Pittsburgh boy, 14, who drowned at Butler County quarry

 (AP) — Pittsburgh public school officials have identified a 14-year-old boy who drowned at a western Pennsylvania quarry over the weekend.

The district said the South Brook middle school community is mourning the loss of Destin Badeau, described as "a very good student and positive leader among his peers."

Police in Butler County say the teenager's relatives were having a picnic Saturday evening in Clay Township about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh when he went swimming and never resurfaced.

Fire officials say family members found him and tried to give him CPR until emergency responders arrived, but he was pronounced dead at a hospital.


He had just finished 7th grade at the school, where staff members called him "a wonderful, sweet boy" whose "smile would light up a room."

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