AP: Speed caused icy pile up wrecks

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania State police say their investigation into a series of accidents on the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia last week is pointing to multiple causes. Capt. Greg Bacher said in a release Friday that officers plan to issue at least 10 citations for traveling too fast for conditions. Bacher says other factors include slick pavement and poor visibility from the sun’s glare and tire spray.


The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has begun a full review of the Feb. 14 morning incident that injured at least 30 people and tied up traffic for hours. The wrecks occurred about seven miles east of the Willow Grove interchange in Bucks County. The turnpike says its after-incident review should take several weeks to complete. A legislative hearing on the matter also is being planned.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is turning to a National Hockey League executive and a former director of the Pennsylvania Lottery to be the next two members of the Penn State Board of Trustees. The governor on Friday nominated Buffalo Sabres chief development officer Cliff Benson – who’s also a former member of the board of Jerry Sandusky’s charity for children – and the lottery’s former executive director, Todd Rucci.


The nominations are subject to the approval of a majority of the Pennsylvania Senate. Benson and Rucci would take the board seats currently held by Ira Lubert and Alvin Clemens. The governor’s office says Benson was “instrumental in facilitating” an $88 million donation by Sabres owner Terry Pegula that funded the university’s hockey program three years ago.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s highest court says it won’t revisit its decision two months ago that struck down a state law that took zoning decisions about natural gas drilling out of the hands of local governments. The state Supreme Court on Friday denied a request by the Corbett Administration to vacate its decision and send it back to a lower court for a new round of briefs and fact-finding process.


Instead, the justices are leaving in place the Dec. 19 decision that said new industry-friendly rules violated the state constitution. Three justices said the restrictions didn’t sufficiently protect the environment and the health and safety of people. A fourth justice said the law violated due process rights of municipalities to carry out community planning. The case now goes to Commonwealth Court for more proceedings.


EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Corbett has signed a death warrant ordering a western Pennsylvania man be executed for the rape and murder of a 2-year-old girl in 1988. Fifty-five-year-old Stephen Rex Edmiston has maintained his innocence since he was convicted in 1989 in the abduction of Bobbi Jo Matthew from her Clearfield County home. Edmiston, of Huntingdon County, alleged told police, “You’ll find a dead, raped little girl” after drawing a map that marked the spot in northern Cambria County where her remains were found.


Attorneys with the Defender Association of Philadelphia contend the girl was actually run over, not raped and murdered. The death warrant sets the execution for April 16, though that’s likely to be delayed by more appeals. Gary Heidnik became the last person executed in Pennsylvania in 1999, after he voluntarily ended his appeals.


DILLNER, Pa. (AP) – The state Department of Environmental Protection says it will take until next week for workers to finish capping a southwestern Pennsylvania well that exploded into fire earlier this month. DEP says the capping work will “definitely push into next week.” The contractor Chevron hired to cap the well, Wild Well Control of Houston, Texas, has a permit to draw water from nearby Dunkard Creek.


They’ll draw the water so they can extinguish a fire should one break out again at the well in Dunkard Township. That’s about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh. The Feb. 11 explosion killed a 27-year-old worker for Houston-based Cameron International, and the resulting fire burned for five days before going out on its own. The explosion’s cause has yet to be determined.


(Copyright 2013, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved)

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