While standing in a checkout line at Karn’s Foods in Middletown, Carl Frank Runion Sr. allegedly molested a woman in front of him, then threatened to kill the borough police officer who drove him to jail, police said.
Still, the officer picked up the $42 worth of shrimp that Runion had purchased at the grocery store and delivered it to the home of Runion’s mother – so it would not go to waste, police said.
Runion, 53, of Londonderry Twp., was arrested at Karn’s on Thursday, Oct. 29 after he allegedly sexually molested the customer standing in line in front of him, according to records filed by Middletown police with District Judge David Judy.
While being driven to a booking center, Runion allegedly threatened to kill the unidentified officer and the officer’s family, according to court records.
Runion was arraigned in Dauphin County Night Court before District Judge Raymond Shugars and charged with terroristic threats, indecent assault, public drunkenness and harassment, according to court records. He was held in Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bond.
A preliminary hearing has been set for Wednesday, Nov. 25 before Judy.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 15:35
Written by Dan Miller
Middletown Borough Council voted on Monday, Nov. 9 to enter into talks with Swatara and Lower Swatara townships toward forming a regional police force.
However, it is all but certain that the fate of the issue will lie in the hands of a new council majority that will take control in January.
In October, consultants hired by the Dauphin County commissioners presented a report detailing seven options for forming a regional police force in the county.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 10:43
Written by Dan Miller
Travelers using Harrisburg International Airport should allow for some extra time driving back and forth to HIA over the next two weeks, due to roadwork that is impacting the airport connector and Route 230 in Lower Swatara Twp.
Traffic may be reduced to one lane in the area at times between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, starting today Monday Nov. 9 until Friday, Nov. 20, said Greg Penny, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
The work is to remove seven high-mast light poles in the interchange between the airport connector and Route 230. In addition to single-lane restrictions, motorists can expect traffic to be stopped for up to 15 minutes at times, so that each pole can be safely moved after being taken out.
Most of the traffic restrictions will affect motorists using the connector. However, traffic along 230 will also be impacted since the poles are located near this road.
Prep work to set up a 300-ton crane started on Nov. 9, and the first pole is expected to be taken out on Tuesday. The job is expected to be done by Nov. 20, unless bad weather causes delays.
Last Updated on Monday, 09 November 2015 11:35
Written by Dan Miller
A Dauphin County judge has denied a request from Middletown Borough to vacate an arbitrator's decision to reinstate Dennis Morris, a police officer who was fired by the borough in February 2014.
Arbitrator James M. Darby "did not mandate that an illegal act be performed and did not address issues outside of the terms and conditions of employment," Judge Bruce Bratton wrote in his order, handed down on Monday, Nov. 2. "The arbitrator did not exceed his powers, and this court lacks the authority to vacate the arbitrator's award."
Borough Solicitor Adam Santucci is expected to discuss Bratton's order with Middletown Borough Council and Mayor James H. Curry III during the next council meeting on Monday, Nov. 9, according to a statement from Curry that was issued through Middletown spokesman Chris Courogen.
"The solicitor has informed me, as supervisor of the police department, of this decision," Curry said. "I expect him (Santucci) to be on hand at Monday's council meeting to review the judge's order with council and myself. Until we have had the opportunity for those discussions, neither I nor the borough will have any further comment."
Councilor Chris McNamara offered his own response to the ruling on Friday, Nov. 6, emphasizing to the Press And Journal that he was not speaking for the borough or as council president – simply as one council member.
McNamara said that he had opposed the borough seeking to vacate Darby's arbitration ruling after it came out.
"My choice was to give (Morris) his return to work notice and welcome him back," McNamara said. "The mayor asked that we terminate (Morris) and council acted on that. We wasted taxpayers' dollars at the request of the mayor, basically. I'm not in favor of wasting any more taxpayer dollars to fight this."
Morris should be given a start date to return to the Middletown Police Department "with open arms and with no animosity," McNamara added.
According to court documents, the borough fired Morris for neglect or violation of an official duty, inefficiency, neglect, disobedience of orders and conduct unbecoming an officer. On Feb. 18, 2014, borough council voted 9-0 to uphold the decision to fire Morris.
However, in a May 12 decision prompted by a grievance that was filed on Morris' behalf by the Middletown Borough Police Officers' Association, Darby determined that "the borough has not established by a preponderance of the evidence that (Morris) committed the infractions for which he was charged and that it had a valid basis for discharging him."
In sustaining the association grievance, Darby ordered that Morris be reinstated to the Middletown police force and be "made whole with respect to wages and benefits" lost since he was fired, minus interim earnings, including unemployment compensation. All references to Morris' termination are to be expunged from the borough's files, Darby said.
In June, Santucci had asked the county court to "vacate" Darby's award. The borough contended that Darby exceeded his authority in that his decision was not sufficiently justified by the collective bargaining agreement between the borough and the police association.
The borough added that Darby's ruling would require the borough to perform "an illegal act" anytime Morris would be asked to testify in court as a police officer regarding any future criminal matters. This is because the borough's decision to fire Morris was based in part upon Morris allegedly "providing false information during an internal investigation," the solicitor said in court papers.
Last Updated on Friday, 06 November 2015 15:48
Written by Dan Miller
Wondering what all those vehicles and people were doing at the boat launch in Middletown on Thursday, Nov. 5? Here's your answer.
It was all part of a drill to simulate what would happen in case of a spill from a diesel pipeline into the Susquehanna River.
The exercise was led by Buckeye Partners LP, a company that owns and operates pipelines and terminals throughout the United States, mostly in the midwest and northeast.
Every year Buckeye picks one location throughout the United States for an exercise to test the company's ability to respond to a pipeline disaster.
Last year, the exercise was held in the Everglades. This year, it is being held right here.
In the scenario, a contractor running a backhoe punctures a Buckeye pipeline near Hill Island in the Susquehanna River. The accident sends an estimated 1,700 barrels worth of diesel fuel into the river.
Buckeye as part of the drill deployed booms to try and capture the fuel as far south as Marietta in Lancaster County, said Craig Brown, executive director of engineering services for Buckeye Partners, and a spokesman for the company.
The drill is being run out of a command center that was set up in the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.
It's a simulation, but the pipeline that runs along Hill Island is real.
A map on the Buckeye Partners web site shows pipelines running through south central Pennsylvania. In addition, Buckeye Partners has a major operations and control center in Breinigsville, just outside Allentown.
"Pennsylvania is one of the largest concentrations of both terminals and pipelines for Buckeye," Brown said.
The greater Middletown area also offers unique challenges that would confront Buckeye in case of a real spill - like the nearby presence of Three Mile Island and Harrisburg International Airport, an official at the boat launch told the Press And Journal.
Moreover, a spill here would impact navigatable waterways, "which doesn't occur everywhere," Brown said.
An estimated 80 to 100 people participated in the exercise, including many from Buckeye Partners who flew into the area from all over the country.
State and federal agencies represented at the drill included the U.S. Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the Governor's Office, Brown said. Local police, fire, and emergency management agencies were also involved.
The exercise started on Wednesday, Nov. 4, and was to wrap up by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5.
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 November 2015 16:40