1 dead, 17 injured after car drives into Pennsylvania fundraiser; driver suspected of fatal attack after crash

A man drove through a crowd gathered for a fundraising event on Saturday, killing one person and injuring 17, before fatally attacking a woman in a nearby borough, Pennsylvania authorities said.

The suspect, whose identity has not been released, is in custody, state police said. Authorities have not said what charges he faces.

State Trooper Anthony Petroski said Saturday night that a vehicle drove through a “community event” in Berwick around 6:15 p.m.

After the crash, the suspect is charged with fatally assaulting a woman in Nescopeck, where he was arrested by city police, Petroski said.

Police are investigating whether the suspect intentionally entered the crowd and did not say if there is a link between the suspect and the woman who was killed in Nescopeck.

Affiliated to the BNC WBRE de Wilkes-Barre reported that crowds gathered at a benefit event in Berwick to raise funds for families of the three children and seven adults who died in an early morning house fire August 5 at Nescopeck.

Authorities have not released the identities of the two people killed. Columbia County Coroner Jeremy Reese said the Berwick crash victim was a 50-year-old woman from Wilkes-Barre who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 17 injured were taken to four area hospitals, Petroski said. Their terms were not immediately available to law enforcement Saturday night.

Natalie Buyny, a spokeswoman for healthcare provider Geisinger, said it treated 15 patients from the Berwick incident at three of its sites. Six were still being evaluated for conditions; four were critical; three were right; and two were treated and released, she said.

Saturday’s performance took place at the bar and restaurant of the addiction department. People had also gathered in an adjacent outdoor space, where various vendors and a basket raffle were set up under tents. The event also included a water balloon fight and a dunk tank, according to the bar’s social media.

“We can never replace these people who have been lost, but we can do our best” to support the family, bar owner Lauren Hess told Wilkes-Barre’s NBC affiliate WBRE at the benefit night Saturday. .

On Saturday evening, the bar announced on Facebook that it would be closed until further notice.

“Today was an absolute tragedy,” the post said. “Please respect our privacy as we grieve and try to process the events that have transpired.”

Funeral services were due to begin on Friday for some of the victims who died in the August 5 fire, with additional services scheduled for Sunday and Monday.

The deceased included seven adults aged 19 to 79, two boys aged 5 and 6 and a girl aged 7, according to Pennsylvania State Police. All 10 died of smoke inhalation, the coroner determined.

Pennsylvania State Police initially called the case a “complex criminal investigation.” Investigations into the fire and its cause, which has not been determined, are ongoing.

The fire started before 3 a.m. and first responders reported flames that repelled their efforts to get inside the two-story home and perform rescues, authorities said later in the day. daytime.

The house was set on fire and remains were discovered as authorities searched the rubble.

Asked if the suspect in Saturday’s incidents was also a possible suspect in the Nescopeck fire, Petroski said: “At this time he is not a suspect in this incident.”

Nescopeck is a borough of over 1,400 people in Luzerne County, about 48 miles southwest of Scranton. Berwick, Columbia County, has a population of approximately 10,300 and is across the Susquehanna River from Nescopeck.

Joe Studley and The Associated Press contributed.

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