On Saturday, they were exchanging their wedding vows. But soon, they were exchanging blows -- with each other as well as with members of another wedding party.
"It was pretty wild," said Ross police Sgt. Dave Syska of a post-wedding brawl that landed a bride and groom in the Allegheny County Jail on their wedding night and left two good Samaritans with injuries.
Dr. David M. Wielechowski, 32, of Shaler, a dentist, and his bride, the former Christa Vattimo, 25, each were charged with simple assault, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. She also was charged with public drunkenness.
According to a criminal complaint, the Wielechowskis had just checked into the Holiday Inn-McKnight Road in Ross and were ready to enter their room on the seventh floor when they began arguing.
Dr. Wielechowski "then used a karate-style kick with his leg to kick Christa, knocking her to the floor," the complaint reads.
Upon hearing her screams, two guests of the hotel who had been attending another wedding reception ran to Mrs. Wielechowski's aid. But when they attempted to restrain Dr. Wielechowski, he began fighting the would-be rescuers only to have Mrs. Wielechowski "turn against [them] and also begin to assault them," according to the complaint.
The fight moved from the hallway into an elevator, then spilled out onto the floor of the lobby, where Dr. and Mrs. Wielechowski picked up metal planters containing live plants and threw them into the elevator at the two rescuers, the complaint says.
Police said both Dr. and Mrs. Wielechowski punched and wrestled with the rescuers, who were left with injuries that included cuts, a tooth knocked out and a possibly broken thumb.
The complaint estimates $1,000 in damage to the hotel, including to the elevator, the planters and plants.
Sgt. Syska said Ross officers called for assistance from Shaler, McCandless and West View police departments.
The complaint noted that when police officers arrived, Dr. Wielechowski was lying on the floor of the lobby and Mrs. Wielechowski was "yelling loudly and was apparently highly intoxicated."
Sgt. Syska said the couple had been married about a month ago in the Bahamas and had repeated their vows in a ceremony Saturday, followed by a reception for 150 guests at a private location in the North Hills.
Dr. Wielechowski initially was taken to UPMC Passavant in McCandless for examination of possible injuries, then to the Allegheny County Jail, where his wife already had been booked. They spent the night in separate holding cells until they were released on their own recognizance late yesterday morning.
District Judge Dennis Joyce set their preliminary hearings for May 7 at the office of Richard G. Opiela of West View.
Judge Joyce said after the hearing that he had considered ordering Dr. Wielechowski to refrain from contact with his wife but she had asked the judge not to.
"I felt it was appropriate to ask," the judge noted.
Neither Mrs. Wielechowski nor her husband would comment following their separate preliminary arraignments yesterday.
Mrs. Wielechowski, still dressed in her wedding gown, was picked up by her father and taken home. No one was awaiting Dr. Wielechowski, whose left eye was blackened and swollen shut. He was arraigned wearing tuxedo pants, a bloodied T-shirt and one shoe.
Karen Kane can be reached at email@example.com or 724-772-9180.