Wednesday April 11, 2018


Black Forest Express

Photo by Gerri Miller

Tuesday’s high, 41; Overnight low, 20; no precipitation







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 Coudersport officials stop  water treatment plant….police looking for distracted drivers during awareness week…..Both men involved in Ceres Township scuffle, arrested…..same car involved in two hit and run crashes in Emporium….Troy teen allegedly hid  cell phone merchandise in purse when leaving Walmart…Two Mansfield men accused of burglarizing and damaging camper….Troopers investigate two other  thefts in Tioga County…..

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This Is Distracted Driving Awareness week . Pennsylvania  State Police have teamed up with PennDot to raise awareness about the potentially deadly risks of texting while driving. As part of the campaign,U Drive, U Tex, You Pay, law enforcement will be watching closely for distracted drivers. Texting while driving is illegal in Pennsylvania. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted driving is a public health issue that affects us all. The latest statistics show motor vehicle fatalities are up 6% from 2015. More than 40,000 people were killed on our nation’s roadways last year, and distracted driving is a major contributor.

Highway Fatalities:

37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6% from 2015 (data not yet available for 2017) NHTSA

Distracted Driving:

10% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2015 were distraction-affected. NHTSA.

Distracted driving crashes are under-reported and the NSC estimates that cell phone use alone accounted for 27%  of 2015 car crashes. NSC

In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. NHTSA

The fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over (IIHS)

Driver distraction is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes.  AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Three types of distractions:

Traffic safety experts classify distractions into three main types: Manual, Visual and Cognitive.

Manual distractions are those where you move your hands from the wheel.

Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road.

A cognitive distraction is when you’re mind wanders away from the task of driving.

Texting involves all three types of distraction.

Cell Phone Use:

People are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08%.   University of Utah

Cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers. University of Utah

Text messaging increases the risk of crash or near-crash by 23 times.  Virginia Technical Transportation Institute, USDOT

Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph NHTSA

The NHTSA  adds drivers are not taking this seriously enough:

Over 84% of drivers recognize the danger from cell phone distractions and find it “unacceptable” that drivers text or send email while driving. Nevertheless, 36% of these same people admit to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving in the previous month. AAA Foundation for Traffic SafetyTeens whose parents drive distracted are 2 to 4 times as likely to also drive distracted.

In addition to cell phone use and texting, istracted driving can include such actions as:




adjusting devices such as radios and GPSs;

attending to children or pets, and

interacting with other passengers in the vehicle.

While all drivers should avoid distractions; for young, novice drivers, distracted driving can compound the inexperience factor and increase the risk of accident according to PennDot.

Last March, a state law went into effect banning text-based communication while driving. Violating the law is a primary offense carrying a $50 fine.

According to PennDOT data, more than 14,600 accidents involved a distracted driver in Pennsylvania in 2012, with 57 deaths in those accidents. Over the past five years, nearly 11 percent of Pennsylvania accidents involved a driver distraction, resulting in more than 300 fatalities statewide.

To help avoid distractions while driving, PennDOT recommends that drivers follow these simple safety tips:

Store or turn off cell phones while driving. If you must make an emergency call, safely pull over to the side of the road.

If traveling alone, set your GPS, radio and temperature controls before hitting the road.

If traveling with pets, be sure that they are properly restrained. Better yet, leave them at home. Even a minor crash can result in a major injury to a pet if it is not properly restrained.

Never operate your vehicle and attend to a child at the same time.

If you drop an object while driving, leave it until you reach your destination.

For more information on distracted driving and the state’s anti-texting law, visit


Both men involved in a scuffle early yesterday in Ceres Township, McKean County have been arrested for harassment with physical contact.  Kane based state police report 32 year old Joshua   Mesler of Shinglehouse and Kyle Lunn, 22 of Scio,  were arguing at 532 Route  44 at about 5:00 am when Mesler pushed and shoved Lunn  and punched him in the face with a closed fist.  Lunn allegedly then   pushed and shoved Mesler.

State police at Emporium have not released the name of their suspect but say charges are pending against a driver whose car was involved in two hit and run collisions within a couple of hours yesterday. At around 2:40 pm troopers tried to stop a 2009 Toyota Camry on a report of erratic driving. The car went off of E. 4th street and hit a legally parked 2016 Chevrolet  Silverado causing minor damage. Officers said the operator appeared dazed and unaware of his surroundings and what had just occurred. Two hours later while investigating another collision involving the same car on Route 120, police discovered the car had hit the guard rails along the highway about two tenths of a mile west of the State P:olice barracks. That collision was witnessed by someone who provided details about the crash to investigators. Apparently there were no injuries.

An 18 year old Troy resident has been arrested for shoplifting at the Mansfield Walmart. State police at Mansfield Cassidy  Slingerland  took various cell phone accessories valued at $48.76 by hiding the items in her purse before leaving the store on March 30.

Two Mansfield 20 year olds have been arrested for burglarizing a camper belonging to another resident of that town march 23 or 24. State police allege Tristan Gerow and Michael Watkins entered the camper which was parked in a wooded area near the intersection of Valley Road and Mulberry Hill Road in Richmond Township and poured melted candle wax down the kitchen sink drain causing $500 in damge. without the  owner’s permission.  Both were arraigned on charges of criminal mischief, burglary, and  criminal trespass.

Thieves stole several items from a vehicle owned by Lauren Flick of Elmira, NY during that same time period while it was parked on Canoe Camp Creek Road in Richmond Township. Stolen items included black Beets Headphones, valued at $250, First Heritage Feder Deit card, three rings, valued at $250; leather men’s Carolina boots, $140, key ring with assorted keys, $5.00; and a six pack of Smiroff ice, $7.00.

Criminals  took a shovel and rake off the front porch at a camp on |Grubb Road in Deerfield Township during the same period of time. The items owned by 70 year old Lafrone Harrison of Hornell, NY are valued at a total of $20.