Elk County News

Elderly Couple Ok After Jay Twp Rollover

An incident of indecent assault is under investigation by the Marienville State Police in Forest County.  The troopers report a 13 year old girl reported being indecently assaulted by a known 60 year old man.  Police say the incident happened in a home in Harmony Township, Forest County sometime between January 1, 2016 and March 31, 2016.  The investigation continues.  


DEP Approves Permits for Underground Injection Wells in Elk and Indiana Counties

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is giving the green light to  permits for two underground injection control (UIC) wells for disposal of wastewater associated with oil and natural gas production.   The announcement came Monday.

The wells are located in Highland Township, Elk County; and Grant Township, Indiana County. 

“After a thorough review, DEP determined that both applications meet all regulations, are sufficient to protect surface water and water supplies, and would abate pollution,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.  

The wells will be operated by two separate operators, Seneca Resources Corp. in Elk County; and Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) in Indiana County.

In addition to the permit applications, DEP reviewed Erosion and Sedimentation Control and Post Construction Stormwater Management Plans, Control and Disposal Plans, and the applications submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as the permits issued by the EPA for the wells.

Due to concerns about seismic activity related to UIC wells that has occurred in other states DEP has applied special conditions to the permit to ensure early detection if even minor seismic events occur. These conditions include:

•          Installation of a seismometer and continuous recorder with operating, calibration, service, and maintenance information at the disposal well site; and the contact information for the responsible person in charge of conducting seismic monitoring activities.

•          Verification that data is captured at the disposal well site and provided to the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Network in real time.

•          Description of installation to allow for optimal seismic event identification and location.

•          Submission of a tectonic seismic event contingency plan that includes monitoring, reporting and mitigation provisions.

•          Provision for updating the seismic monitoring and mitigation plan, retaining seismic event data and equipment records, and submitting reports on the use of monitoring equipment.


In addition, these wells are permitted at much lower pressures, and in formations farther from the “basement” rock that is more prone to activity, than the wells in other states that have been linked to seismic activity.


More information on the permits is available on DEP’s website:


Unauthorized Use of Weedville SUV Probed

A Ridgeway state police investigation is ongoing into the alleged unauthorized use of a vehicle in Elk County a week and a half ago.  The Ridgway state police report they are looking into the incident which happened sometime between noon on Saturday March 18th and 9 pm Saturday the 25th.  The troopers say Janet Beck of Weedville loaned her Chevy Suburban to a known white non-Hispanic female of Ridgway.  At an agreed upon date and time the vehicle was to be returned, but the suspect failed to do so.  


St. Marys Man Charged w Felony 3 Retail Theft

A St. Marys man is accused of retail theft in Elk County after attempting shop lift the Wal-Mart along the Million Dollar Highway in St. Marys on Sunday.  The Ridgway state police report Ryan Joseph Michuck, 23 entered the store and tried to remove multiple retail items worth a little over $115.  Michuck is now charged with Felony Three Retail Theft through district court in Fox Township and awaiting a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Mark S. Jacob on Tuesday, April 11th.  Michuck was also charged with Misdemeanor 3 Defiant Trespass.  He is not yet represented by an attorney.  


Woman Injured, Cited in Jones Twp Car Fire

A Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal is investigating an Elk County car fire.  The Ridgway state police report Monday night about 10:30 pm they were notified by a passerby indicating a vehicle ablaze on Glenn Hazel Road in Jones Township just south of Pumkin Hill Road.  The Wilcox Volunteer Department  responded and put the fire out.  After some further investigation, the driver of the Ford Escape that was on fire was found and related she had lost control of the SUV while attempting to engage a left hand curve in the roadway.  When 53 year old Candace Schwartz lost control of her SUV, it went off the road and crashed into a culvert and came to a stop on the right side of the road.  That's when the vehicle caught fire. 


Police say Schwartz was transported to Kane Community Hospital for unknown injuries.  She will be cited with Drivers Required to be Licensed.  Wally's towing removed the SUV from the scene.  The troopers assisted by the Wilcox Volunteer Fire Department,  Fire Police and Ambulance.  


St Mary's Wal-Mart Nabs Two Alleged Shop Lifters

In Elk County The Ridgeway state police investigated a retail theft t the Million Dollar Highway Wal-Mart  in Saint Mary's early Sataurday night.  Police Say Jeannie Hoffower of Emporium, 58, years of age, took several items and tried to leave the store without paying.  The total amount of the items taken is reported to have been $83 .  Charges were filed in district court.   



From the same store on Saturday February 4th, Mathew Taylor Reeves , 21 of Johnsonburg is reported to have entered the St. Mary's Wal Mart and removed various merchandise including a Verizon Smart Hone.  The case is under investigation by the Ridgway State Police.  Charges are pending in district court.  


Autopsy Shows Landfill Worker Asphyxiated in Garbage Collapse

The Elk County coroner says a landfill worker was asphyxiated when he was buried by a mound of garbage and dirt last week.

The Elk County coroner's office says in a report issued Monday, 49-year-old William Pierce died as a result of "compressional" asphyxiation due to environmental entrapment" at the Greentree Landfill near Kersey.

The death was ruled accidental.


State police report his body was found Friday afternoon under roughly 40 feet of trash at the landfill. Officials said Pierce was driving a garbage compactor when trash slid down and covered the machine Wednesday.


UPDATE: Ridgway PSP on Greentree Landfill Collapse

The investigation into the death of  a Dubois man operating a wheeled trash compactor when a large portion of a landfill in Elk County collapse last Wednesday is continuing.  You may remember we reported Ridgway State Police telling us they were dispatched last Wednesday afternoon for assistance at the Greentree Landfill on Toby Road in Kersey. 

The troopers report at 2:10 pm that afternoon a large portion of the landfill had collapsed down an incline, burying multiple pieced of heavy machinery and endangering five company employees.  By the time the troopers arrived, 4 of the employees had been able to escape or were extricated without injury.  The remaining employee, William L. Pierce, 49, had been operating a wheeled trash compactor on the landfill property at the time of the collapse, and neither  he nor the machine he operated could be found. 

Search and rescue efforts began immediately pulling units, assistance and manpower from Advanced Disposal, the Pennsylvania State Police,, Elk County fire departments and ambulance services, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), Elk County EMA,  Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue, Elkland Search and Rescue, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Salvation Army, , several local businesses, and multiple other state and federal agencies.  Unstable terrain and inclement weather hampered the continuous efforts of rescue workers. 


On Friday morning about 10 o'clock, search crews utilizing heavy earthmoving equipment, found Pierce's machine lying on its right side under approximately forty feet of shifted soil and refuse.  Rescue crews using hand tools worked to unearth the operator's  cab of the trash compactor and discovered Pierce was deceased inside.  Rescue workers extricated Pierce from the machine about 1:20 pm and at 1:25 he was pronounced dead by Elk County Coroner Michelle Muccio at the scene.  


PSP ID's Man Who Died in Elk Co Landfill Collapse

The name of the worker missing at an Elk County landfill is being released by authorities. 

The body of a William Pierce, 49,  was buried when a mound of garbage and dirt slid down onto him.

Pennsylvania State Trooper Bruce Morris reports Pierce's body was found Friday afternoon under roughly 40 feet of trash at the Greentree Landfill near Kersey.

Pierce was driving a garbage compactor when trash slid down and covered the machine Wednesday.

Elk County Coroner Michelle Muccio says Pierce likely died of blunt force trauma to the head, but the official cause won't be determined until Saturday's autopsy.


Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection records show the landfill was fined in 2015 for not being designed in a way to prevent hazards. It's unclear what those hazards were, but a spokesman for landfill owner Advanced Disposal says that's not believed to be related to Wednesday's accident.




Fire Damages Ridgway Tavern

Fire damage to an Elk County watering hole is estimated at $240,000.  This after fire ravaged the Main Street Tavern at 135 Main Street in Ridgway Borough.  The fire broke out at 6 am Tuesday morning.  The owner is Robert Schloder, 59, of Johnsonburg. 


The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal and the Ridgway Fire Department investigated the structure fire and found the fire was electrical and accidental in nature.  The state police fire marshal was assisted by the Fire Departments of Ridgway, Johnsonburg and Saint Marys.

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