McKeesport solicitor gets house arrest

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McKeesport solicitor J. Jason Elash was sentenced Wednesday to house arrest and probation after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a January 2012 car crash.

Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski sentenced Elash to 30 days of house arrest with an electronic monitoring device and six months of probation. He pleaded guilty in March to charges that were reduced to a lesser degree of DUI, allowing for a lower mandatory punishment.

Elash's attorney, Anthony DeLuca, said he thought the sentence was appropriate.

"That's consistent with the sentencing guidelines and the mandatories required by state law," he said.

Elash, 42, was charged with driving under the influence and speeding after he crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a McKeesport building after attending Mayor Mike Cherepko's inaugural ball at the McKeesport Palisades.

It was his second DUI charge.

According to a criminal complaint, Elash drove through a wooden fence and into a building about 100 feet off Long Run Road about 1:30 a.m. Jan. 22, 2012. A McKeesport police officer arrived on the scene to find Elash being treated by medics. As the officer questioned Elash, he said he could smell alcohol on Elash and overheard him tell medics that he had been drinking.

Elash was taken to UPMC Mercy, and police later obtained a warrant to collect blood that was drawn from him at the hospital. Tests showed his blood alcohol content was 0.196, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 in Pennsylvania.

Mr. DeLuca declined to comment on whether the plea would affect Elash's employment as McKeesport's solicitor, and Mr. Cherepko did not return calls seeking comment.

Lawyers who are convicted of a crime are required to report the conviction to the disciplinary board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, according to chief disciplinary counsel Paul Killion, but, he added, a suspension of Elash's license or a disbarment is unlikely.

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Annie Siebert: asiebert@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1613. Twitter: @AnnieSiebert.


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