Archive for category Lehigh

Pair in break-in, standoff were both shot in head

Authorities released the cause of death for the 25-year-old woman and 33-year-old man following autopsies.

The man and woman who broke into an Upper Saucon Township home, sparkin…

Man jailed after alleged attack with wooden plank, knife

The attacker began swinging various objects at a pair during an assault, police said.

A Slatington man was jailed after police said he threatened a pair by swinging a metal …

Auto salvage yard fire sends up plume of black smoke

Firefighters urged the public to stay away from the fire in northern Lehigh County.

Firefighters from Lehigh and Northampton counties responded Monday afternoon to a large fire a…

2 in apparent murder-suicide: ‘Addiction overwhelmed him and her’

Autopsies are expected to be completed later Monday on the bodies.

UPDATE: Pair in break-in, standoff were both shot in head
The man who engaged authorities in an all-d…

Lehigh County inmate dead by apparent suicide, official says

The inmate, who did not have a cellmate, was found unresponsive Saturday night, county officials said.

An Allentown man serving time for a parole violation died after an app…

My house ‘looks like a war zone,’ man says after deadly standoff

The deaths continue to be investigated by the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office and Upper Saucon Township police.

Dave Stahler returned home Sunday morning to broken photographs and significant damage to his walls and floors.

fatzingermessick.jpgFrom left, Eric Ryan Messick and Emily Anne Fatzinger. (WFMZ and Courtesy photo)

In his house in the 4100 block of Lanark Road in Upper Saucon Township, he found candy wrappers, chips and a plastic jug of lemonade thrown about, he said.

Stahler left to get groceries Saturday afternoon. He didn’t get back inside until Sunday.

“There was damage from flash grenades going on; a robot went up the steps and you could see the wheel marks,” he said Sunday. “There was garbage. It looked like a war zone.”

The house became the scene of a police standoff all day Saturday — with residents estimating upward of 75 police vehicles, a helicopter and teams of officers in bulletproof vests — swarming the neighborhood. Nearby Wedgewood Golf Course was cleared of golfers and went into lockdown.

The Lehigh County Coroner’s Office said Emily Anne Fatzinger, 25, of Pike County, Pa., and Eric Ryan Messick, 33, of the 200 block of South Railroad Street in Walnutport, were pronounced dead at 10:02 p.m.

Stahler said police found the two dead in his attic. The home sits far back off the main roadway on private property, he said.

They had barricaded themselves in there, Stahler said, after police said earlier they had fired at officers with Messick armed with a .357-caliber handgun.

Authorities described their deaths as an apparent murder-suicide. Autopsies are set for Monday.

The two had lengthy criminal backgrounds.

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin and Upper Saucon Township police did not immediately return calls for more information Sunday.

‘Shadows across the wall’

Authorities said the two fled into the neighborhood after police tried to stop their car on nearby Route 309.

Edward Petro, who has lived on Limeport Pike for the past 40 years, said he was watching television when he saw two shadows dance across the white wall of his living room. He waited for the doorbell to ring, but instead Messick and Fatzinger barged through his unlocked front door, armed with a handgun, Petro said.

“The first thing I saw was him and in his left hand was a firearm,” Petro said, noting the gun was pointed at his feet. “He said, ‘Give me the keys.'”

Petro said he quickly came up with a story about how his mechanic was fixing his car and still had the keys because they were “specialty keys.”

“He accepted that and just left,” Petro said.

District attorney Martin told WFMZ that other neighbors were approached by the pair demanding car keys, including a woman sitting on her porch with her dog. Petro said Mesick was seen walking across a street carrying a handgun.

When police discovered the pair were in the neighborhood, “(expletive) hit the fan,” Petro said.

“People were then being ordered out of their homes,” he said.

Residents in the nearby Traditions of America of Saucon Valley development, an age 55-and-over housing development, learned of the standoff on social media. They informed each other to lock doors and stay inside.

“It was kind-of surreal,” said Becky Keane, who lives in the development currently housing about 150 people.

2 killed in apparent murder-suicide are identified

‘Something not right’

Stahler returned home from the grocery store and when he went to turn the key into the front door, he said the door wouldn’t budge. He then opened the deadbolt, which he said he rarely locks.

Once inside, Stahler noticed the door to his cellar was open with the light on.

“I saw there’s something not right,” he said.

Stahler was on the phone with a friend who knew of the standoff and told Stahler to get out of the house and get help. Stahler called police from his neighbor’s home, he said.

Stahler was then ordered out of his home until Sunday morning. He stayed overnight with a family member, he said.

“I keep thinking if I walked in there (basement), they would have shot at me,” Stahler said, also adding he was grateful he took his dog along with him to the store. “Someone was looking out for me. I was just glad I walked away with my life intact.”

Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @pamholzmann. Find on Facebook.

In search of the highest-quality trout streams in Pa.

The state’s streams, including those in the Lehigh Valley, have been part of a trout survey for the last several years.

Pennsylvania has about 86,000 miles of flowing waters, and a state program has been working to determine which are home to wild trout populations.

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission launched the Unassessed Waters Initiative, which involves state officials, conservation groups and citizens attempting to study the rivers, streams and creeks statewide that support wild trout.

So far, more than 3,000 streams totaling over 21,000 miles have been surveyed by the fish and boat commission.

Streams with large numbers of wild trout are a sign of excellent water quality, according to Trout Unlimited Mid-Atlantic Policy Director David Kinney. They’re also popular with anglers.

Trout Unlimited is a national conservation group that has been helping the state survey streams.

“The water has to be exceptionally clean for there to be a naturally producing population of trout,” Kinney said.

The waters receive different classifications based on the size and number of trout counted in a particular section of a stream.

Streams designated as Class A trout waters — those that support a significant population of naturally produced trout — receive special protections from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection during permitting processes. Nearby wetlands and associated tributaries also are eligible for increased protections.

“Whatever work you do around that water, you need to make sure that water remains to be high quality,” Kinney said.

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Trout are measured and counted by using a method called electrofishing. A surveyor will typically go into a stream wearing a backpack containing a 40-pound battery- or gas-powered generator connected to a large “wand.” The wand emits a low voltage current in the water, which stuns and immobilizes the fish so they can be more easily collected and counted.

The fish are then released back into the water.

While wild brown trout and even rarer wild rainbow trout populations have been found, 95 percent of the wild population counted are wild brook trout, according to a state report.

Northampton County currently has 14 stream sections considered to be Class A trout waters and Lehigh County is home to 16 of the same designation. One designated section of Monocacy Creek runs through both counties.

Next month, the fish and boat commission will consider designating an unnamed tributary of the Little Bushkill Creek as a wild trout water.

Terry Kleintop, who is on the Plainfield Township Planning Commission, Environmental Advisory Council and is a Bushkill Stream Conservancy member, said the wild trout designation for the tributary that runs through Plainfield Township would be a good thing.

“The program could be a benefit to many municipalities so they can see what is going on in their streams,” Kleintop said.

Here’s a rundown of the Lehigh Valley stream sections given Class A designation:

Bushkill Creek from Tatamy’s southern border to a private bridge off Route 2019;
Bushkill Creek from the dam at Binney & Smith to the 13th Street bridge in Easton;
Frys Run;
Martins Creek from its headwaters to the Bangor sewage treatment plant;
Martins Creek from the dam 0.6 km upstream from intersection Route 1015 and Old Franklin Hill Road to its mouth;
Monocacy Creek from the Route 987 bridge to the Route 248 bridge;
Monocacy Creek from the upstream boundary of Gertrude Fox Conservation Area to Illick’s Mill dam;
Monocacy Creek from the Illick’s Mill dam to the Schoenersville Road bridge;
Nancy Run;
Saucon Creek;
Unnamed tributary to the Delaware River;
Unnamed tributary to the Lehigh Canal;
Unnamed tributary to the Lehigh River;
Waltz Creek

Video tour of the Valley’s covered bridges

Catasauqua Creek;
Cedar Creek;
Hosensack Creek;
Iron Run;
Little Cedar Creek;
Little Lehigh Creek from Smith Lane bridge to Spring Creek;
Little Lehigh Creek from Spring Creek to Wild Cherry Lane bridge;
Little Lehigh Creek from 0.4 km upstream of Country Club Road to the Fish Hatchery Road bridge;
Little Lehigh Creek from Fish Hatchery Road Bridge to just upstream of Bogerts Covered Bridge;
Ontelaunee Creek;
Saucon Creek;
Schaefer Run;
Spring Creek;
Trout Creek;
Unnamed tributary to Ontelaunee Creek;
Unnamed tributary to Saucon Creek

Monocacy Creek from Schoenersville Road to the Lehigh River

John Best is a freelance writer. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook.

Tractor-trailer crash through median slows I-78 in both directions

It was reported during the evening rush hour on Interstate 78 in Salisbury Township.

A tractor-trailer crashed Friday through the concrete median of Interstate 78 in Salisb…

Man fleeing dad’s killing stopped twice in Lehigh County, cops say

The suspect was trying to get money from ATMs, police say.

A Schuylkill County man, fleeing after beating his father to death with a baseball bat, turned up twice on surveillance…

Deadly crash closes Route 309 in Lehigh County

The coroner’s office was responding to the 2-vehicle crash on Route 309, near Gun Club Road, in Lehigh County.

At least one person was killed Friday morning in a crash on Route 309 in Lehigh County, closing the road in both directions.

The Lehigh County Coroner’s Office was on the way to the two-vehicle crash at Route 309 and Gun Club Road, in Lynn Township.

Both vehicles were reported to be on their sides, and Route 309 was closed in both directions starting at Mountain Road in Lehigh County and Route 895 in Schuylkill County.

Pennsylvania State Police at the Fogelsville barracks responded to the call and would be releasing more information later, according to a dispatcher.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find on Facebook.