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Centerville man charged in fatal West Pike Run crash

A Centerville man is being charged in connection with a fatal vehicle accident last April that killed a 13-year-old.

State police charged Ruben William Miller, 19, with a felony of homicide by vehicle on Tuesday. He also faces summary traffic violations for speeding and reckless driving.

The charges stem from an April 8 accident in West Pike Run Township. Miller failed to negotiate a curve and lost control of his vehicle in the 100 block of Sunset Drive about 4:30 p.m. April 8.

At the time of the accident police said that due to the speed of the vehicle, when Miller struck an embankment on the northbound shoulder of the road, the vehicle rolled multiple times and launched through the air. According to the criminal complaint, police believe Miller was driving between 68 and 81 mph when he lost control.

Miller and two passengers were ejected from the car as it continued to roll. Jayden Anderson, 13, of Fredericktown, was taken to Penn Highlands Mon Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:33 p.m. The Washington County coroner determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Miller and another passenger, also a 13-year-old male, were flown by helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital and UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Police did not identify the surviving juvenile passenger.

Court records indicate Miller will be arraigned on the charges at 9:30 a.m. today before District Judge Curtis Thompson.

Biden budget aims to cut deficits nearly $3T over 10 years
President Joe Biden’s upcoming budget proposal aims to cut deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade
  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden’s upcoming budget proposal aims to cut deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade, the White House said Wednesday.

That deficit reduction goal is significantly higher than the $2 trillion that Biden had promised in his State of the Union address last month. It also is a sharp contrast with House Republicans, who have called for a path to a balanced budget but have yet to offer a blueprint.

The White House has consistently called into question Republicans’ commitment to what it considers a sustainable federal budget. Administration officials have noted that the various tax plans and other policies previously backed by GOP lawmakers would add roughly $3 trillion to the national debt over 10 years.

“This is something we think is important,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said about the plan Biden intends to discuss Thursday in Philadelphia. “This is something that shows the American people that we take this seriously.”

As part of the budget, the president already has said he wants to increase the Medicare payroll tax on people making more than $400,000 per year and impose a tax on the holdings of billionaires and others with extreme degrees of wealth.

The proposal would seek to close the “carried interest” loophole that allows wealthy hedge fund managers and other to pay their taxes at a lower rate, and prevent billionaires from being able to set aside large amounts of their holdings in tax-favored retirement accounts, according to an administration official. The plan also projects saving $24 billion over 10 years by removing a tax subsidy for crypto currency transactions.

The official who provided the details spoke on condition of anonymity to preview the plan before its official release.

It also includes:

n expanding the ability of Medicare to negotiate on pharmaceutical drug prices, with an estimated spending cut of $160 billion over a decade.

n auctioning off rights to the radio spectrum, which would generate $50 billion.

n steps to reduce identity theft and unemployment insurance fraud.

n targeting insurance companies that overcharge Medicaid, with anticipated savings of $20 billion through repayments to the government.

n ending subsidies valued at $31 billion for oil and gas companies.

n scrapping a $19 billion tax break for real estate investors.

It’s a delicate time with the U.S. economy on edge because of high inflation. The government this summer is likely to exhaust its emergency measures to keep Washington running, setting up the risk of a default on payments along with cataclysmic series of job losses that could crash the economy.

Biden’s package of spending priorities is unlikely to pass the House or Senate as proposed. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that the plan “will not see the light of day,” a sign that it might primarily serve as a messaging document going into the 2024 elections.

Rohit Kumar, a former McConnell aide who is now an executive with the tax consultancy PwC, said Biden’s plan does matter “in terms of putting ideas out there.” He said that if Biden won a second term, elements of this spending blueprint could be part of negotiations in 2025 about the expiring provisions in the 2017 tax cuts that President Donald Trump signed into law.

Given the scope of the deficit reduction in Biden’s proposal, Kumar said it was unlikely that the president’s plan would identify which parts of the expiring tax cuts he plans to keep, as the president has vowed no tax increases on anyone making less than $400,000. But while the White House has charged that Republican plans increase deficits by $3 trillion, about $2.7 trillion of that total comes from renewing all the Trump-era tax cuts that disproportionately favored the wealthy.

In February, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the national debt held by the public will grow by more than $20 trillion over the next decade. The publicly held debt – which reflects the cumulative impact of yearly deficits – would be equal to 118% of U.S. gross domestic product, up from 98% this year. Biden’s budget would reduce the debt, though it would still be high relative to historical levels.

Republicans, newly in control of the House, are demanding sharp spending cuts. Biden has suggested that tax increases on the earnings and holdings of the country’s wealthiest households can bolster government finances and also improve Medicare and Social Security.

The president contended in a Monday speech that there are 680 billionaires in the United States and that many of them pay taxes at a lower rate than do families who think of themselves as being in the middle class. Biden said not to hold him to the precise number of billionaires, but that they could afford to pay more for the good of the country.

“No billionaire should be paying a lower tax rate than a fire fighter – nobody,” Biden said at a gathering of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

J. Scott Applewhite – staff, AP

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and GOP leaders meet with reporters following a closed-door briefing on the budget that will be submitted by President Joe Biden, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

6 GOP candidates, 3 Dems running for Washington Co. commissioner

Six Republicans and three Democrats have filed to run for Washington County commissioner in the upcoming primary.

Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to file their nominating petitions ahead of the May 16 primary election that will then send two candidates from each party to the general election matchup to elect three commissioners on the board.

The Republican candidates are Bruce Bandel of Amwell Township; Ashley Duff of Fallowfield Township; Electra Janis of Peters Township; Kevin Redford of North Strabane Township; Nick Sherman of North Strabane Township; and Sonia Stopperich Sulc of Canonsburg Borough.

The Democratic candidates are Randy Barli of Coal Center Borough; Larry Maggi of Buffalo Township; and Cindy Fisher of Cecil Township.

Sherman and Maggi are the only incumbents on the ballot after Washington County Commission Chairwoman Diana Irey Vaughan, a Republican from Cecil Township, decided not to run for reelection this year after serving seven terms in office.

Meanwhile, most of the county row office positions will also be competitive this year, either in the primary or November general election.

District Attorney Jason Walsh will run unopposed in the Republican primary, but he will face opposition in the general election from Democratic candidate Christina DeMarco-Breeden. The same is true for Treasurer Tom Flickinger, who won’t be challenged in the Republican primary, and is expected to face Democrat Joe Manning in November.

However, the other four row office positions currently held by incumbents all will have challengers in the Republican primary. Coroner Tim Warco will face challenger Marc Zmijowski in the Republican primary, although no Democrats are currently registered to run in the general election.

Clerk of Courts Brenda Davis will face Ray Phillips in the Republican primary, and the winner will likely face Democrat Bobby Dellorso in the fall. Prothonotary Laura Hough is running in the Republican primary against Kevin Hill, with Democrat Sandy Sabot expected to be waiting for the winner in the general election. Register of Wills James Roman will be challenged in the Republican primary by Christina Wiles Thomas, while Democrat Alex Taylor is expected to face the winner in November.

Independent candidates have until Aug. 1 to circulate and file their nominating petitions. Anyone interested in running as an independent should contact the elections office at 724-228-6750 for more information on the number of signatures needed for a particular office. People running for a countywide office will need 594 signatures to get on the ballot.

The only competitive race for magistrate is the Peters Township-based district, with Phil Melograne and Christina Fox Grasso running as cross-filed candidates and Daniel Ketelaar running as a Democrat. Melograne was appointed district magistrate in July by then-Gov. Tom Wolf to replace Jesse Pettit, who was elected Washington County Court of Common Pleas judge in 2021.

There will also be a referendum on the ballot for voters in Morris Township to decide whether alcohol sales should be permitted in the municipality, which is currently considered a dry community.

The entire list of candidates for countywide, local and school board races can be found on the Washington County website at

Lawsuit against Fox shows the news behind the Trump news
Dominion Voting System's $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News is producing plenty of behind-the-scenes news about what the network's personalities and executives thought about Donald Trump
  • Updated

NEW YORK – Fresh revelations flowing from a major defamation lawsuit are shedding light on what was happening inside Fox News following the 2020 presidential election. Here are some things to know about the case.

The case

Dominion Voting Systems is suing Fox for $1.6 billion, claiming the news outlet repeatedly aired allegations that the company engaged in fraud that doomed President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign while knowing they were untrue. Fox contends that it was reporting newsworthy charges made by supporters of the president and is supported legally by libel standards. The case is scheduled for trial next month.

Election disconnect

Dominion has produced evidence that prominent people at Fox knew the fraud allegations were untrue, even as they and the president’s allies were given airtime to repeat them. Fox’s Sean Hannity said in a deposition that he did not believe the fraud claims “for one second,” but he wanted to give accusers the chance to produce evidence. Fox founder Rupert Murdoch, questioned under oath, agreed the 2020 presidential election was free and fair: “The election was not stolen,” he said. Murdoch also said he was aware some Fox commentators – Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro and Hannity – at times endorsed false claims, but he did nothing to stop them.

Fox’s fear

The court papers have laid out a profound concern at Fox over the impact of its election night call that Democrat Joe Biden had beaten Trump in the battleground state of Arizona – a call that was accurate. Fox scooped its rivals on the call, but it infuriated Trump and many Fox viewers, who expressed their anger and began tuning in to rival conservative media outlets such as Newsmax. The call was making so many people uncomfortable at Fox that news anchor Bret Baier even suggested it be overturned and Arizona counted in Trump’s column. The Washington executive responsible for the declaration held firm and was proven right – then paid for it with his job two months later.

Libel law

In its defense, Fox has relied on a doctrine of libel law in place since a 1964 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has made it difficult for plaintiffs to prove defamation. Public figures, and Dominion fits that standard in this case, have to prove not only that the information reported was incorrect, but that the news organization acted with “reckless disregard” about whether it was true or not. Fox says Dominion can’t prove its case, but some First Amendment advocates suggest the company has a strong argument. Their worry is that a prolonged legal battle would give the Supreme Court a chance to change libel laws that would weaken protection for all the media.

Trump’s interest

Trump has taken a keen interest in the case, judging by his social media posts. Always concerned about loyalty, and nursing a long grudge about the Arizona call, he has expressed anger at revelations in the case that many people at Fox not only did not support his fraud allegations but privately disdained them. Court exhibits released this week contained blunt, dismissive assessments of Trump by some people who thought they were involved in private conversations – including host Tucker Carlson, who said in a text message in January 2021 about the president, “I hate him passionately.”

The election

Federal and state election officials, exhaustive reviews in multiple battleground states where Trump challenged his loss and Trump’s attorney general found no widespread fraud that could have changed the outcome of the 2020 election. Nor did they uncover any credible evidence that the vote was tainted. Trump’s allegations of fraud also have been roundly rejected by dozens of courts, including by judges he had appointed.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, March 8, 2023, in Washington.