PITTSBURGH (AP) – A 25-year-old Pittsburgh woman has been killed after crashing her car while driving the wrong way on a city bridge.
The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office says the dead woman is Jequayla (jeh-KWAY’-lah) Turner.
Police say she was driving the wrong way on the Birmingham Bridge when her car hit the concrete wall of an unfinished bridge ramp about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Police say she was pronounced dead about an hour later at UPMC Mercy hospital.
Police were continuing to investigate the crash, but didn’t immediately say why they believed the woman was driving in the wrong direction.
Federal study finds fracking didn’t ruin water
PITTSBURGH (AP) – The final report from a landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking found no evidence that chemicals or brine water from the gas drilling process moved upward to contaminate drinking water at one western Pennsylvania site.
The Department of Energy report released Monday was the first time an energy company allowed independent monitoring of a drilling site during the fracking process and for 18 months afterward. Scientists used tracer fluids, seismic monitoring, and other tests to look for problems.
A separate study published this week by different researchers examined drilling sites in Pennsylvania and Texas using other methods. It found that faulty well construction can cause pollution, but not fracking itself.
The DOE study monitored six wells at one site. Other drilling locations could behave differently.
Jail guard charged with selling drugs suspended
NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) – A western Pennsylvania county jail guard charged with selling drugs to an undercover informant during a work break has now been suspended without pay.
The New Castle News (http://bit.ly/1s4YT2S) reports the Lawrence County Prison Board on Monday voted to suspend 29-year-old Michael Llewellyn, of Cranberry Township. Under union rules, Llewellyn will keep his medical and other benefits until the charges are resolved.
Llewellyn allegedly sold four prescription painkillers on Aug. 28, and four more of the pills on Sept. 8.
Police say the second deal occurred in the jail’s parking lot while Llewellyn was on break from his shift at the jail about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Llewellyn was in uniform during both alleged drug deals.
Court records don’t list an attorney for Llewellyn who remained jailed Tuesday. He faces a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Information from: New Castle News, http://www.ncnewsonline.com
Ex-prosecutor, wife sentenced in abuse of adoptees
PITTSBURGH (AP) – An ex-prosecutor and his wife have been sentenced for endangering the welfare of two adopted Ethiopian children after county welfare officials found the boy had been underfed and the girl physically abused.
Douglas Barbour, 35, who resigned from the state attorney general’s office last year, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts in June and was sentenced to five years’ probation on Monday. Kristen Barbour, a 32-year-old stay-at-home mother who was the children’s primary caretaker, was sentenced to six to 12 months in alternative housing followed by four years’ probation.
The Franklin Park couple was charged in October 2012, when the boy was 6 and found to be malnourished, and the girl was 18 months old and had multiple head fractures in various stages of healing.
“It was like they were breaking a horse, not raising a child,” said Assistant Allegheny County District Attorney Jennifer DiGiovanni. “It was unconscionable that this went on. The very minute (the boy) was taken out of their care he began to thrive.”
Kristen Barbour told the court she decided to adopt the children in March 2012 after making church missions trips to developing countries.
Doctors found evidence of abuse when the boy was treated for an infection in September 2012. The boy weighed 37.5 pounds, nearly 10 pounds less than when he had been adopted, and told investigators he was forced to eat meals in the bathroom or stand alone in there whenever he urinated or defecated in his pants. The girl’s injuries have never been explained.
The Barbours have regained custody of two biological children, ages 2 and 5, who were found not to be abused.
Another couple has since adopted the Ethiopian children. The boy told his new adoptive mother, Alison Patterson, that it hurt when Kristen Barbour “scribbled my face in the carpet when I peed,” Patterson testified Monday.
Kristen Barbour told the court, “I’m not a monster as some have portrayed me.” She added: “I wish the children a good life. I hope they find it in their heart to forgive.”
Jury gives woman $15.8M in construction zone crash
PITTSBURGH (AP) – A Connecticut construction company should pay a western Pennsylvania woman $15.8 million for injuries she suffered in a work zone crash a day before her daughter’s wedding five years ago, a western Pennsylvania jury ruled.
A spokeswoman for Lane Construction Corp. of Cheshire, Connecticut, said the company hasn’t decided whether to appeal Monday’s verdict in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
Brenda Gump-Schragl, 56, sued claiming the Route 51 construction site was dangerous and that the company made no changes despite previous crashes along the construction zone in Pleasant Hills, a Pittsburgh suburb.
The woman was injured when her son, Daniel Gump, tried to turn left from the northbound lanes of the highway into a restaurant for his sister’s rehearsal dinner on June 11, 2009. Their car was hit by a driver coming in the other direction who didn’t see the Gump vehicle because of traffic backed up in a southbound turning lane.
Gump-Schragl was in a coma for five weeks, has no short-term memory, and relies on a walker due to her injuries. Her daughter’s marriage was postponed for a year due to the crash.
Claims against the other driver and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation were previously settled.
The jury found the other driver 42 percent responsible for the crash and PennDOT 40 percent responsible. Although Lane Construction was deemed only 18 percent responsible, under Pennsylvania law the company is liable for the entire damage verdict because the other defendants had already settled.
The company’s attorney, Mark McKenna, had argued at trial that the contractor didn’t have the authority to change the traffic control plan designed by PennDOT.
Cyanide murder trial delayed by experts’ meeting
PITTSBURGH (AP) – The trial of a Pittsburgh medical researcher charged with fatally poisoning his neurologist wife with cyanide is being delayed by a national conference of toxicology experts.
The murder trial of 65-year-old Dr. Robert Ferrante was to have begun with jury selection on Oct. 14, but that will begin Oct. 21. The Allegheny County district attorney’s office says expert witnesses for the prosecution and defense were both unavailable for the earlier trial date due to the conference.
Testimony is now expected to begin Oct. 23.
Ferrante is charged with lacing an energy drink with poison to kill his wife, Dr. Autumn Klein, in April 2013.
Ferrante has repeatedly denied that and has said he’s devastated by her sudden death.