Cheswick councilman held for trial in assault of fire department president

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A Cheswick councilman will stand trial on misdemeanor charges of simple assault and making a false statement to police after he was accused of punching the borough's fire department president in September.

At Jonathan Skedel's preliminary hearing today, Judge David J. Sosovicka held the 57-year-old for court.

Mr. Skedel is accused of punching Joseph Ferrero outside Health Star Physical Therapy in Springdale Borough the morning of Sept. 19, police said.

Both men told police they have disagreed over the purchase of a fire truck for the borough fire department.

Mr. Ferrero told police he was coming out of the building and saw Mr. Skedel walking his dog on Pittsburgh Street, according to a Springdale police criminal complaint.

Mr. Skedel started calling him profane names and challenged him to a fight, according to the complaint.

Mr. Ferrero walked away and was at his car when Mr. Skedel called his wife a vulgar term, prompting Mr. Ferrero to turn around and approach the man, who then punched him in the mouth, according to the complaint.

Police were dispatched to the scene about 9:45 a.m.

Mr. Skedel told police he did call Mr. Ferrero's wife an offensive term but that Mr. Ferrero then attacked him by running and jumping on his back.

A video captured by the Health Star surveillance camera shows that Mr. Ferrero did not jump on him and that Mr. Skedel punched the fire department president multiple times, according to the complaint.

Witnesses also told police they saw the men quarreling and that Mr. Skedel was the aggressor, according to the complaint.

A formal arraignment is scheduled for January. Mr. Skedel did not immediately return a message left at his home.

Mr. Skedel is also awaiting a preliminary hearing on charges of simple assault and harassment, stemming from a separate October incident in Plum.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede.


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