Metro Beat: Dad charged after daughter’s first-date death

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – A 12-year-old Pittsburgh girl who got out of her father’s SUV to pose for photos with a boy after her first date was struck and killed by the vehicle, police said Monday, and her father was charged with DUI.

Police said that Richard Benton, 53, refused field sobriety and breath tests after slurring his words and smelling of alcohol at the scene of the crash around 8 p.m. Sunday

. He was arraigned Monday and police said he could face additional charges if they determine he was directly responsible for Shamera Harris’ death.

Court records don’t list an attorney for Benton, whose home phone was continually busy Monday after his court appearance.

Benton told police he thought the vehicle was in park and the girl’s mother, Carla Harris, told police Benton was “messing around with the gear shifter” before getting out of the vehicle to take a photo after dropping off the girl’s date after a movie, police said in a criminal complaint.

After the car then began rolling backward, Shamera Harris was struck and dragged about 50 feet before the SUV hit a tree and stopped.

“He misjudged it from what we’re being told,” police Sgt. Tom Huerbin said at the scene, referring to Benton’s impression that the vehicle was safely parked before he got out.

Police will inspect the vehicle to determine if it was working properly, said Lt. Daniel Herrmann, who called the incident a “terrible accident.”

“If there’s reason to believe he’s responsible for this girl’s death, then there will be (more) charges,” Herrmann said. “It’s one of those things where you have to go wait and see. You have a lot more investigation to go.”

Body in Penn Hills ID’d as small business owner

PENN HILLS, Pa. (AP) – An autopsy was set on the body of a man who owned two automobile businesses in Pittsburgh, who was found shot in a wooded area of a neighboring suburb.

The body of 53-year-old Kenneth Stubbs was found in Penn Hills after 10 a.m. Sunday.

The municipality borders Pittsburgh, in particular East Liberty, the neighborhood where Stubbs lived, which is also close to where his self-named auto sales and auto repair businesses were located in the city.

Police have not announced charges or named a suspect in the shooting.

The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office scheduled the autopsy for Monday.

Neighbors had reported hearing gunshots near where Stubbs’ body was found just after midnight Sunday morning.

Pittsburgh champagne lounge fire draws spectators

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A fire in a downtown Pittsburgh champagne lounge has drawn dozens of firefighters and hundreds of onlookers, but apparently didn’t injure anyone.

The owners of Perle’ could not immediately be reached.

The website for the champagne and tapas lounge says the business is open Wednesday through Saturday evenings, though it can be rented at other times.

The business did not appear to be open when firefighters responded about 12:45 p.m. Monday to a report of smoke in the back of the second-story business, which is located above a bagel shop in the city’s Market Square. The square is home to several restaurants and specialty shops, and is a favorite gathering place for downtown workers, especially in warmer weather.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

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