Tractor-trailer fire a total loss in Washington Township

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 3:39 pm

Washington Township, Pa. – No injuries to report after a truck-tractor burns to the ground near Kistler Driver along SR66 in Washington Township.

AKVNEWS spoke with the female operator of the tractor who said she had just picked up the rig from the shop and was headed North on 66 when she heard this clicking noise. She said she called the shop and was advised to pull over and then the rig caught fire. The flames and smoke were visible for over a mile on the straight stretch of road on Route 66 as fire crews headed to the scene. Traffic was stopped in both directions at Kistler and Pfeffer Roads for over an hour as fire crews from Washington Township, Oklahoma Borough, and White Valley contained the blaze to just the truck-tractor.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Kochka & Son Towning was called to the scvene to remove the tractor-trailer from the roadway.


Veterans and their families warned about pension fraud

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 10:01 am

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane and Acting Adjutant General James R. Joseph today warned Pennsylvania veterans and their families to be aware of schemes aimed at selling veterans financial products they don’t need or charging them for services which are otherwise free.

These kinds of schemes, referred to as “pension poaching,” may be perpetrated by attorneys, financial planners, insurance agents or others who use misleading or incomplete information to encourage veterans to make decisions about their finances in order to qualify for benefits.

Kane said her agency’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs has received reports of dishonest planners or people misrepresenting themselves as veteran service officers targeting veterans in senior centers, assisted living facilities and other locations where they couple guarantees about qualifying for benefits with a high pressure sales pitch for their products.

“Some unscrupulous financial planners attempt to take advantage of our veterans by offering high-priced services that veterans and their families can typically obtain for free,” Kane said. “Veterans should avoid these dishonest advisors and keep the money that’s rightfully theirs. My Office of Military and Veterans Affairs is committed to advocating on behalf of veterans and protecting them from scams.”

Often, pension poachers try to convince veterans to transfer their assets or invest in insurance products to qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits, but don’t disclose how those transactions impact the veteran’s eligibility for other federal programs like Medicaid.

Aid and Attendance can supplement a military pension but is only available in limited circumstances.

“We need to get the word out that veterans should never pay for these services,’’ said Joseph. “Free assistance is readily available from any accredited veterans service officer at the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, their County Director of Veterans Affairs, or through a chartered veterans service organization such as the American Legion, VFW, DAV, or AMVETS to name a few.”

Educating veterans, their families and their caregivers is the first line of defense in combating pension poaching. Kane and Joseph said that collaborating with other state and national stakeholders has been helpful in reaching Pennsylvania’s large veteran community.


Allegheny Township crash injures two; vehicle flips on side

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 7:16 pm

Allegheny Township, Pa. – Two people are injured after a vehicle crash on SR356 about a mile North of Orr Road in Allegheny Township.

The incident occurred near the 6:00 pm hour involving two vehicles on a straight stretch of road which was initially reported to be a crash involving pediatrics and entrapment. Sources at the scene said there were no children involved in the crash just car seats and groceries on the highway.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

It was reported two females were trapped and had to be rescued from their vehicles. The extent of their injuries are unknown. Rescue crews cut part of the windshield and roof away from a Chevy Equinox to extricate the trapped driver. A Chevrolet Cobalt sustained heavy damage to the front end and the driver’s door had to be cut from the vehicle. The Chevy Equinox was approximately 150′ South of the Cobalt on its side with front end damage. It appears heavy damage to a guide rail prevented either vehicle from going over a small hillside. A heavy amount of fluids and car parts were strewn all over the roadway.

Firefighters from Markle, Allegheny Township, Vandergrift, Washington Township and Oklahoma assisted Allegheny Township Police at the scene. Washington Township and Vandergrift Police also assisted. Kockka & Son of Vandergrift was called to remove the vehicles along with a PennDOT truck for salting the roadway. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer


Shots fired; CERT standoff averted overnight in Springdale Township

Male suspect in handcuffs after averted standoff in Springdale Township

Male suspect in custody after averted standoff in Springdale Township

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 8:10 am

Springdale Township, Pa. – One man was taken into custody at a second floor apartment in the 1200 block of Butler Road after a report of shots fired outside a residence.

Springdale Township Police Chief Mike Naviglia said Todd Scherba of Archery Street in Springdale assaulted and choked a female in an upstairs bathroom. Chief Naviglia said the female was outside when police arrived and the suspect indicated he was not coming out of the residence. The female victim was removed from the incident and was in protective services of Cheswick Police near the intersection of Butler Road and Shrader Street.

A CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) request was made by police at 12:05 am after the male suspect refused to exit the residence. Chief Naviglia said he was able to apprehend Scherba after Sherba kept pacing back and forth to the door. Police were uncertain if Sherba was in possession of a firearm and after about ten minutes Sherba was apprehended by police. CERT was cancelled shortly after the request with police advising 911 dispatch they had one in custody.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Several police units were on scene as Lower Valley EMS was summoned to the scene to evaluate the suspects medical condition. The suspect exited the residence in handcuffs and was loaded into the EMS unit for transport to Pittsburgh Presbyterian Hospital with escort from Springdale Township Police.

Springdale Township Police Chief Mike Naviglia said police would be back to the residence Thursday morning with a search warrant to look for additional evidence of guns and casings. Sherba faces numerous charges including aggravated assault, harassment, and resisting arrest.

Springdale Police was assisted by Cheswick and Springdale Borough Police.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer


AKVNEWS readers/followers get suspects attention; turns self in to Lower Burrell Police

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 3:01 pm

Lower Burrell, Pa. – Wanted for “failure to appear” at a preliminary arraignment for Possession of Marijuana and Use/Poss of Drug Paraphernalia, Jacob Thomas Marhefky turned himself into Lower Burrell Police on Tuesday afternoon.

Marhefky called police and turned himself in to Lower Burrell Police Sergeant Zach Beam stating, “it was all over the internet” that he was wanted by Lower Burrell Police. AKVNEWS posted a “Wanted by Police” link on our homepage and Posted to on February 21-2015 for Marhefky and three other suspects wanted for failure to appear. Police said two phone calls were received within a few hours of the posting.

AKVNEWS.COM reach into the Alle-Kiski Valley and beyond, sometimes hitting as many as 50,000 readers/followers led to the overwhelming response of the Facebook post and was directly responsible for his actions to call police. It was just three days later Marhefky placed the call to police as Sergeant Beam advised Marhefky it would behoove him to turn himself in.

Marhefky was transported to Magisterial District Judge Cheryl J. Peck-Yakopec office by Lower Burrell Law Enforcement Officer Ken Smail for the preliminary arraignment. Bail was set and posted $5000 unsecured. Marhefky’s Preliminary Hearing is scheduled for 03/03/2015 @ 10:15 am before the Honorable Magisterial District Judge Cheryl J. Peck-Yakopec.


Fire guts house in Springdale Borough

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer  1:43 am

Springdale Borough, Pa. – Multiple fire units are on scene of a house fire in the 300 block of Butler Street in Springdale Borough just after the midnight hour Wednesday morning.

AKVNEWS.COM was on scene of the fire just minutes after the fire started at the rear of the structure. Springdale Borough Law Enforcement Officer Paul Perriello notified 911 dispatch that fire was coming out the back door and requested 911 to ask the fire department to expedite to the scene. Minutes later it was reported the occupants were out of the structure as fire and smoke intensified coming out a side window.

Fire crews attacked the rear of the structure, but the heat inside was intense and fire was spreading towards the front of the structure. For a short while the scene was mostly white smoke except for the front portion which was beginning to push black smoke heavily towards the front porch. Moments later fire erupted with flames traveling across the front of the structure.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Fire crews got on the front porch roof to break out windows and allow additional ventilation of heat and smoke from the house. The house appears to be a total loss. Firefighters from several surrounding communities responded along with multiple EMS units including the Allegheny County Fire Marshal. Watch the video here:

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Crews responding: Arnold, Springdale, Cheswick, Lower Burrell, Frazer, Lower Valley EMS, Springdale Borough Police and Springdale Township Police.


Springdale Borough Police arrest juvenile suspect in home invasion

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 6:56 pm

SPRINGDALE BOROUGH, Pa. – (UPDATE:)  At approximately 10:45 am Tuesday Morning, Springdale Borough Police Chief Medeiros’ was notified by his officers informing him of a possible home invasion in the borough and the homeowner had been confronted by two suspects.  Reportedly a local neighbor and resident business owner in town who lived nearby possibly confronted one of the suspects and a foot pursuit ensued.  

The juvenile suspect fled the area and was followed to a location in Springdale Township.  Officers were alerted and other departments including  Frazer Township, Allegheny County Police and Sprindgdale Township took part in apprehending the suspect.  That  suspect was taken into custody in the Springdale Township community and taken back to Springdale Borough to be interviewed.  A second adult male suspect was also brought into custody to be interviewed.

AKV_9170Chief Medeiros’ said some information about a possible weapon and due to where the pursuit was headed, it was prudent to put the schools on lockdown with their permission until police could determine any eminent threat to students and community.  The homeowner was “startled” by the two suspects in the house said Chief Medeiros’.  The investigation into this home invasion continues.

(Original Story) Police chief Julio Medeiros’ said 911 got a call about a possible home invasion early Tuescday morning. Two suspects entered the house just off of Pittsburgh Street and was confronted by a female homeowner.

A neighbor saw a suspect coming out and a foot pursuit began. Police have one juvenile suspect in custody. The homeowner possibly saw a firearm in the waistband. Chief Medeiros’ said electronics were smashed in the invasion. Police are looking for a male adult still on the loose. As a precautionary measure Colfax Elementary and the high school are on lockdown.

More details as they become available.


One person killed in fatal crash North of Kittanning

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 4:39 pm

Rayburn Township, Pa. – (UPDATE:)  Trooper Andrew Andryka of the Pennsylvania State Police in Kittanning has released the identity of the crash victim as Nicholas F. Gavazzi, 18 of Charleroi, Pa.  Police report Gavazzi was traveling north on SR28/66 and traveled into the opposing lane of travel and collided with William M. Gathers Jr., 55 of Sligo, Pa.  Gathers was not injured in the incident.  Police report the crash is still under investigation.  The incident occurred at 8:00 am Monday morning.

(Original Story)  11:47 am   A male person was killed after his vehicle crosses the center-line colliding with a tri-axle truck in Armstrong County.

Armstrong County Coroner Brian Myers said one male died after a coal truck and a car crashed along SR. 28 Monday morning. Coroner Myers said it appeared the car was headed Northbound when it crossed the center-line of the roadway striking a Southbound tri-axle. The victim is in his late teens.

Routh 28 North was closed and traffic had to be diverted around the crash scene. The name of the decedent has not yet been released by the coroner.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer


Old Faithful comes alive in Lower Burrell after vehicle crash

Water Authority Supervisor Ed Saliba Jr. surveys hydrant damage.

Water Authority Supervisor Ed Saliba Jr. surveys hydrant damage.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 12:18 pm

Lower Burrell, Pa. – Municipal Authority of the City of New Kensington crews were called to the scene of a single vehicle crash on SR. 56 and Oregon Drive after a van shears a fire hydrant.

Lower Burrell Police Sergeant Greg Dale said the driver of the van was traveling West on SR. 56 attempting to pass another vehicle when he lost control of his vehicle. The van spun around on the slick roadway and rear-ended the fire hydrant causing the hydrant to break off resulting in a 40′ geyser into a nearby tree.

Sergeant Dale said after the driver struck the hydrant, he got out of the van thinking he possibly hit a gas meter as well. After about five minutes, the unoccupied van began to move away from the hydrant and struck the rear of a Lower Burrell Police car. The driver apparently left the van in drive as he exited the vehicle said Dale.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Water from the hydrant was flooding a residential yard adjacent to the hydrant but firefighters were able to lay a hose in front of the house to help divert water to either side of the house. Municipal Authority of the City of New Kensington water crews were immediately called to the scene at the time of the crash to get the water shut off.

Ed Saliba Jr. Water Authority Assistant Superintendent located a valve at Oregon Drive and was able to cut off some of the water to the hydrant but was not able to get it shut down completely. Saliba said this was a “Non Traffic Hydrant” meaning there was no valve below to shut the water off when sheared from a crash. Crews located a 12″ valve below Hillcrest Country Club and another valve half way in between to shut the water down completely. Saliba then located a shutoff valve at the hydrant; shut it off and then reopened the valves to restore water to affected homes and businesses. Saliba also said it took about 2 hours to get the water shut off completely and the residence did sustain water damage. PennDOT was also called to the scene to salt SR. 56 at the crash scene. Assisting Lower Burrell Police were Station #69 firefighters and New Kensington EMS. The vehicle was towed from the scene by Salem’s Auto body and no injuries were reported.

See the video at



Man shot four times at the Arnold Tower

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 6:21 am

Arnold, Pa. – Arnold Police were on scene of a shooting at the Arnold Tower on Horne Boulevard about 5:00 am Friday Morning.

Arnold Police Chief Willie Weber said a man approximately 33 years old was shot four times in the early morning incident. Chief Weber said he was shot once in the shoulder and 3 times in the stomach.

At the scene, one male individual was brought out of the Arnold Tower by New Kensington EMS just as Pulsar arrived on scene to transport the individual to a Pittsburgh Hospital. The man was sitting up on the stretcher as he was brought out of the building. New Kensington and Lower Burrell Police assisted at the scene. Westmoreland County Detectives are assisting in the investigation.


© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer


Wanted by Lower Burrell Police for failure to appear

lbpatchLower Burrell Police request the public’s help in locating these individuals who are all wanted for failure to appear in court.

Lower Burrell, Pa. – 11:16 am






Jacob E. Farrara – 18 years old, last known address Penn Hills – Possession of Drugs and Paraphernalia





Jacob T. Marhefky – 27 years old, last known address Tarentum – Possession of Drugs (((( UPDATE ))))


Patrick Williams



Patrick A. Williams – 28 years old last known address Washington Twp. – Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Isiah Williams




Isiah D. Williams – 29 years old, last known address Arnold – False Identification to Law Enforcement

Please contact 911 or the Lower Burrell Police Department at 724-339-4287 in you know the whereabouts of any of these subjects.


Saturday morning AKVNEWS – crashes top the list

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer  11:00 am

Alle-Kiski Valley, Pa. – Forecasters predicted snow to start about 7:00 am this morning and it arrived on time as roadways all around the AK Valley are slick and snow-covered causing several crashes with injuries.

In the immediate area, two crashes were reported on SR. 28 Expressway. The first crash about 7:10 am at the Northbound get off ramp to the Mills Mall and the second crash on the Northbound side of SR 28 near the Saxonburg Road bridge.

The second set of crashes occurred on the hill near Grandview Elementary. One vehicle slid diagonally across the highway going down the hill headed towards the Tarentum bridge and came to a stop with one front wheel up on the sidewalk. A second crash occurred near the Marathon Gas station.

On Interstate 79 Northbound, a single vehicle crash with a hand injury and in another non weather related accident one person has fallen down 13 steps in Westmoreland County.

Roadways in the Valley are mostly snow-covered. Motorists are urged to stay off the roadways until salt crews can clear primary and secondary roadways.

The following is from the National Weather Service: