Local News – 104.5 FM & 1440 AM | The Voice of Morgantown | Morgantown, WV
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – One of two suspects in a Monongalia County drug-related murder has accepted a plea deal in Monongalia County Circuit Court and will be sentenced in May.
Arlo Romano, 43, was originally charged with first-degree murder along with Cleotis “Ghost” Eppes, 48, of Harper Woods, Michigan, in the shooting death of Matt Moore on Round Bottom Road in May of 2022.
Romano agreed to plea guilty to second degree murder in a deal reached with Judge Paul Gwaltney.
Romano was on the run for about five days in June 2022, while deputies with the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department closed a section of Chestnut Ridge Park during the search.
Deputies said Romano was able to steal a motorcycle from a Preston County resident and escape to the Uniontown area, where he was arrested following a shoplifting call at the local Walmart.
Romano will be sentenced on May 7, 2024 and could receive up to 40 years behind bars.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Mine Rescue Team from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources is the champion of the 2024 Intercollegiate Mine Emergency Response Competition (IMERC) for the second straight year. The competition was held in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, on February 23 and 24 and hosted by the Britannia Mine Museum and the University of British Columbia.
The competition included five teams from the United States and Canada.
The teams were required to respond to timed simulated mass casualty events in a “mine’ that is a former ore mine and now a museum, according to director of the Department of Mining and Industrial Extension Joshua Brady.
“Mine rescue and mining are in our culture; it’s the backbone of who we are, and we take all this personally,” Brady said. “It’s more important to us than showing up to win trophies.”
In a simulated earthquake, the team had to assess injuries and perform multiple rescues in the safest, most efficient manner. The team had to locate and treat nine injured “miners.”
“They went everywhere from a bump or a bruise, disoriented, all the way to some amputations and life-threatening injuries,” Brady said.
In the exercise, two of the casualties are placed in a confined space to test each team’s ability to safely assess the situation and respond. The WVU team made the correct choice avoiding the potentially deadly confined spaces in the competition.
“Our team chose not to enter that space, so we did not kill ourselves,” Brady said. “Unfortunate for some other teams—they did not make that decision.”
The team was required to lower a member 20 feet down to another floor to treat a miner and raise him to safety. Another miner had to be rescued using rope rescue techniques.
“It’s a continual evaluation of everything around them and making sure to remember that taking care of human life is going to be the same regardless of where we are,” Brady said. “That mindset really pulled them through.”
Brady said the team won four of five of the events and is writing their own page in the WVU record books.
“We didn’t show up for that event the way Mountaineers show up for events,” Brady said. “We did not have a sense or urgency in our step; we got beat on time and we got on skill.”
The WVU Mine Rescue Team includes Joshua Riffle, mining engineering majors Odin Smith from Charles Town, Dylan Shilling from Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, and Justin Waybright from Parkersburg, electrical engineering student Ian Stengel from Parkersburg, biology major Troy Whiton from Ringoes, New Jersey, and Grace Hansen, a mechanical engineering student from Ohio.
FAIRMONT, W.Va. – A 36-year-old Fairmont man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the abuse and death of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son in 2021.
Walter Richardson, 36, of Fairmont, was originally charged with child abuse resulting in serious injury, but that was upgraded to first-degree murder and death of a child by a parent or guardian by child abuse after the boy died days later in the hospital.
Richardson was also ordered to pay $577 in court costs.
Before sentencing, Richardson offered apologies to the family and community and asked for forgiveness.
Ashlee Allen, the child’s mother, who knew Richardson was abusing the child but failed to report it, was sentenced in January 2023 for child neglect with injury, gross child neglect creating a risk of injury or death, and gross child neglect resulting in death. Her next parole hearing is scheduled for March 2026.
Also, two former CPS workers who failed to report abuse in the case, Breeana Bizub and Tabetha Phillips-Friend, were terminated, pleaded no contest in January 2022, and agreed to pay restitution.
CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Public informational meetings are scheduled this week in Cross Lanes, Morgantown, and Shepherdstown to discuss West Virginia’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) plan.
The meeting in Cross Lanes will be Wednesday, February 28, at the Public Library; in Morgantown the meeting will be held at the Marilla Center; and in Shepherdstown the meeting will be held at the Public Library. All meeting time are from 4 to 7 p.m. .
NEVI, is a federally mandated formula program that will provide dedicated funding to strategically deploy EV charging infrastructure and establish an interconnected network for data collection, access, and reliability. Officials with the West Virginia Department of Highways (DOH) has completed the “West Virginia EV Infrastructure Development Plan” as a condition to qualify for the funding. This plan will direct state investments in the EV infrastructure and will be updated annually.
Phase one of the plan includes establishing charging stations about 50 miles apart along the state’s interstate highway system. Phase two would add additional community-based charging stations around the state.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) has proposed construction of 15 charging stations along Interstate 64, Interstate 70, Interstate 77, Interstate 79, and Interstate 81.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. The Harrison County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents about a concerning phone scam in which callers falsely identify themselves as deputy and demand money to pay a fine.
Sheriff Robert Matheny said police officers will never demand payment over the phone for any reason. Residents should try to verify the identity of the caller and get a badge number. Never provide financial information over the phone, and if you do receive a suspected scam call, hang up and call the police immediately.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Contractors will conduct blasting operations at the Morgantown Municipal Airport on Tuesday as part of the runway extension and construction of the I-68 Commerce Park.
Airport Director Jonathan Vrabel said Phase III blasting will take place between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and an alternate session from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The blasts are placed so that most of the force is pushed downward, limiting the amount of debris that can become airborne. Vrabel said most people won’t notice the operation, but those close to the facility could feel some of the effects.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — An Anmore woman is facing drug charges after a traffic stop in Clarksburg Friday.
Officers from the Clarksburg Police Department stopped a car on West Main Street for having an illegible license plate.
During the stop one of the vehicle occupants fled on foot, but was captured a short time later. Police also made contact with Stacy Snyder, 44, of Anmore, in the vehicle.
Snyder told police the person that ran from the vehicle told them they were going to jail before he fled.
When police searched the vehicle they found a bag of a crystal-like substance that weighed 29.46 grams and field tested positive for methamphetamine within reach of both Snyder and the person who fled.
Police also recovered a set of working scales and packaging materials.
Snyder has been charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and is being held in North Central Regional Jail on a $20,000 cash bond.
WESTON, W.Va. A Weston woman has been charged with two counts of wanton endangerment after what West Virginia State Police are calling an accidental shooting.
Troopers responded to the residence on Brookview Drive in Weston and learned that Rebecca Donaldson, 34, pointed a loaded pistol and fired two gunshots during a domestic dispute that hit the victim.
Donaldson is currently out on bond.