The National Weather Service in Binghamton says the Village of Owego experienced straight line wind during a severe thunderstorm on Sunday night, and not a tornado. However, they have confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down near East Smithfield in Bradford County on Tuesday. The weather service says the tornado touched down on Main Street around 12:20pm, knocked down many trees and tore off part of the roof of a barn while on the ground. It was measured as an EF-1, meaning wind speeds from 65 to 85 miles per hour. The straight line wind Sunday in Owego also brought down many trees, including a large tree at the corner of Main and Paige Street that knocked out power to part of the village for several hours. Straight line wind is defined as winds of 58 miles per hour or greater that can cause damage to houses, businesses, and trees along a path that is usually wider than that of a minor tornado.
A Bradford County man was killed in a crash over the weekend. Police say Derek Pierce of Gillet was killed when his car drove off the road, into an embankment, and hit a tree on Route 14 in South Creek Township around 5am Saturday. Pierce was pronounced dead at the hospital. Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
A Pennsylvania man has admitted to murdering a toddler in Bradford County. 28-year-old Jeremiah Cordell of Forksville has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in Bradford County Court as part of a deal with prosecutors. He will be sentenced in June to a minimum of 20 years in prison. Pennsylvania State Police say Cordell was watching the 18-month-old in September of 2015 when she died in his care. He was arrested last year after a lengthy investigation and charged with murder and sexual assault.
An elementary teacher in the Sayre School District is accused of injuring a student in a classroom incident. 47-year-old Stephen Parks is accused of picking up a student in a seat and then dropping that student to the floor, which caused unspecified injuries to the unidentified student at H. Austin Snyder Elementary School. Parks was arrested by Sayre Police and charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and harassment for the incident that occurred May 4. Parks teaches third grade at the school.
The man sentenced to death for the 2004 murders of two Bradford County Sheriff’s Deputies has had his execution sentence commuted. Dustin Briggs will instead spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. The punishment was reduced after a judge ruled that the jury in Briggs’ case was given improper instructions about weighing evidence before deciding on whether he would face the death penalty. Briggs was convicted in Bradford County Court in 2006 for the murders of Deputy Michael Van Kuren and Deputy Christopher Burgert. The two were serving a warrant on a suspected meth lab when Briggs opened fire.
The Children’s House in Towanda will hold their fourth-annual 5K Race for Healing on Saturday, April 29 at the Athens High School. Pre-registration is open now and can be done on the Children’s House website or Facebook page. All proceeds will benefit the children’s advocacy center and ensure that area children have the opportunity to continue to receive services for free. The Children’s House serves children in many different counties, including Tioga County. Edith Jordan and Jamie Holliday were guests on today’s WEBO Morning Show. You can listen to the full interview below.
We now know the motive behind the alleged murder of one Bradford County native by another in West Palm Beach, FL on Saturday. The Palm Beach Post is reporting that investigators believe 24-year-old Randy Herman repeatedly stabbed his roommate, 21-year-old Brooke Preston, as she was saying goodbye to him. She was planning to move back to Pennsylvania. The two grew up in Wyalusing and lived together at a home in West Palm Beach for the last six months but were not romantically involved. Investigators say Preston was stabbed more than a dozen times. Herman called 911 after the incident and is now facing first-degree murder charges.
A murder investigation in West Palm Beach, Florida has ties to Bradford County. 21-year-old Brooke Preston was found murdered on Saturday. Palm Beach Sheriff’s Deputies say 24-year-old Randy Herman, Jr. called 911 to report the crime, and was found at the scene covered in the woman’s blood. He is now facing first degree murder charges. Both Preston and Herman are originally from Wyalusing and graduated from Wyalusing Valley High School. A story in the Palm Beach Post says the two were roommates, but not romantically involved. They have been renting the home where Preston was found dead for the last six months.