by Jonathan Weaver
An East Franklin Township man pled guilty to hitting another man in the head with a pipe wrench in September and causing him to get emergency medical treatment.
Jason Crawford, 36, pled guilty to that charge and for fleeing from State Police September 22 after an altercation in a trailer along Staley’s Court Road in Rayburn Township.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Trooper Chad Savannah of the Pennsylvania State Police stationed at the Kittanning barracks as read by District Attorney Scott Andreassi, a third-party contacted the state police barracks about 8:55PM September 22 in reference to an assault that was taking place along Staley’s Court Road. The victim – Timothy Bureau – told police at ACMH Hospital that Crawford hit him in the head twice with a pipe wrench, causing a skull fracture above his left eyebrow.
Crawford told Judge Panchik he entered Bureau’s trailer to demand money that was owed to him.
According to the criminal complaint, Crawford was to receive $70 for helping Bureau build a custom shed during the weekend, but only received $50. When Crawford demanded the money, Bureau related that he didn’t have the money and would have to break a larger bill and pay him the next day – which Crawford did not agree with.
“We got into an altercation and I grabbed the first thing that was available,” Crawford said.
Crawford then fled the trailer and ran into the woods near Lower Troy Hill Road in Kittanning with intent to avoid apprehension from police, which he confirmed.
Once apprehended, Crawford was held on $100,000 bond in the Armstrong County Jail for two counts of aggravated assault, simple assault, disorderly conduct, harassment, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, public drunkenness, driving with a suspended license and flight to avoid apprehension.
But, for agreeing to plead guilty to one of the aggravated assault charges and flight to avoid apprehension, Andreassi waived the rest of the charges and recommended Crawford be eventually incarcerated in the Armstrong County Jail for 1-2 years.
Before accepting the pleas, Judge Panchik told Crawford that the recommended sentence does not have to be implemented by the sentencing judge during his sentencing date April 10.
Crawford agreed that he pled guilty of his own free will and was not coerced or threatened to do so – which Judge Panchik also accepted.
Between the two felony crimes he pled guilty to Thursday, Crawford could spend a maximum of 17 years in jail, be fined $40,000 or serve both penalties.