New Castle News


May 8, 2014

Man who hit bus charged with assault, DUI

NEW CASTLE — A man who hit a school bus was arrested for allegedly driving drunk and trying to punch a fireman.

A witness told police he had seen the driver talking on a phone when the accident occurred.

New Castle police said seven elementary students and a monitor were on the bus about 4 p.m. Tuesday when Donald Dean Watt, 54, of 10 S. Liberty St., driving a silver Pontiac Bonneville, hit the bus from behind.

A 6-year-old girl was taken to the hospital with neck pain, police said, adding the others were uninjured but were examined by ambulance personnel at the scene.

Watt is in the Lawrence County jail.

Police said they arrived at the accident scene and found Watt on the ground, being held down by a New Castle fireman. The fireman told police that when he had arrived, Watt was not in his car and witnesses said he had gone into a nearby drug store.

The fireman told police he went into the store to see if Watt had been injured and saw a man inside holding his head. He said he asked the man, identified as Watt, to step outside for evaluation, and Watt became irritated, pushed the fireman aside and asked, “Are you going to manhandle me?”

The fireman said he grabbed Watt’s arm and escorted him outside, then Watt took at swing at him. The fireman then wrestled him to the ground and held him until police arrived.

A witness told police he had seen Watt’s car traveling north and he was on the phone and not paying attention when he hit the bus.

The bus driver, Steven Byler, told police he had been stopped at a red light at the intersection when the bus was rear-ended.

A bystander told police she had been in the drug store parking lot when she saw Watt get out of the car, and he was on his phone saying, “I just left the bar, and not even a half a mile from the bar, I totaled my car.”

The police took Watt to the hospital, where he consented to a blood alcohol test.

He is charged with nine counts of recklessly endangering another person, one for each of the people on the bus.

He also is charged with aggravated assault for assaulting a firefighter in the performance of duty, simple assault, driving under the influence at the highest rate of alcohol, driving under the influence general impairment, harassment, careless driving, reckless driving and following too closely.

He was arraigned by District Judge Melissa A. Amodie, who set his bond at $25,000. His preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Yauger.jpg Yauger’s Mercer County trial on hold

    A pending criminal trial for the former Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV executive director has been continued again in Mercer County.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yauger.jpg Yauger now facing federal charge

    With Mercer County court proceedings pending this week, Cecelia Yauger faces federal prosecution for alleged business credit card misuse.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg New Castle board adopts budget despite uncertainty

    The New Castle school board adopted its 2014-15 budget Monday but may have to re-open it next week. The $5.4 million budget, introduced in May, has no tax increase and will not tap into the fund balance. Taxes remain at 17.72 mills.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todora.jpg Board, staff bids farewell to superintendent

    Dr. Mary Todora will retire Monday from the Neshannock school district. “I remember eight and a half years ago when Dr. John Dietz (then-board president) called to tell me I got the job. I was thrilled,” Todora said at her final board meeting.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich.jpg Vo-tech administrators get bonuses, no raises

    Lawrence County Career and Technical Center administrators will get one-time bonuses instead of raises next year. The joint operating committee approved one-year agreements that would freeze the salaries of director Leonard A. Rich and the principal, head custodian, cafeteria supervisor and computer technician.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • FrankAloi.jpg Frank Aloi: 50 years of school spirit in Ellwood City

    Frank Aloi is a true Wolverine. Aloi, who turned 73 Friday, spent the past half-century affiliated with the Ellwood City school district and its sports teams.

    June 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • FrankAloi.JPG Frank Aloi Retiring: Ellwood superintendent leaving amid budget woes

    Frank Aloi is retiring next month as Ellwood City’s superintendent of schools. Aloi, a 50-year district employee and its superintendent for nearly 12, submitted his retirement notice to the board during an executive session prior to Thursday’s meeting. His last day is July 16.

    June 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg District mulls building sale options

    The New Castle school district is considering selling its three recently closed buildings through a sealed bid process.

    June 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Perfect.jpg Your Education: Shenango grad never missed a day

    They say nobody’s perfect. But for 13 years, Jenna DiGiammarino certainly was. When Jenna left last night’s commencement ceremonies at Shenango High School, she did so not only with a diploma in hand, but also with a flawless record of attendance dating back to Day One of kindergarten.

    June 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • 03.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Three New Castle schools close today for good

    Today is bittersweet for New Castle Area School District elementary students and teachers. Three buildings packed with history as longtime learning institutions are closing their doors for good.

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

The film "Into the Storm," about a devastating tornado, opens nationally Aug. 1. What's your favorite storm movie?

The Day After Tomorrow
The Perfect Storm
     View Results