Weird Pittsburgh: Truck-stop doctors, apple-juice heists and secular hijinks at the DMV | Pittsburgh City Paper

Weird Pittsburgh: Truck-stop doctors, apple-juice heists and secular hijinks at the DMV

The 58-year-old woman picked him up in a blue Ford Tempo and drove him to her home to perform the physical and did a “protein test” on his urine.

Joann Wingate of Carlisle pretended to be a doctor so she could make money giving physicals to truck drivers and testing their urine, according to federal investigators. Wingate, who lost her chiropractic license in 2014, allegedly stole the identity of an actual licensed physician and posted flyers at truck stops, offering the physicals and urinalysis drug tests required by trucking companies. One driver, who responded to a flyer posted at the Blue Beacon Truck Wash in Cumberland County, said that he found it strange that the 58-year-old woman picked him up in a blue Ford Tempo and drove him to her home to perform the physical and did a “protein test” on his urine there. He contacted authorities, leading to the investigation. Wingate even landed a contract with a transportation company, collecting pee from its drivers and sending samples to medical-testing labs, a gig for which she allegedly submitted bogus certifications to the state. The Sentinel newspaper reports that a district attorney has charged her with wire fraud, submitting false documents and aggravated identify theft. 

A city council meeting in Farrell, Mercer County, got unexpectedly intense due to an appearance by Lawrence M. “Crusty” Owens, “a man whose been making headlines for years for drug dealing, assault and harassment,” according to The Herald of Sharon (which included his nickname in its report). Owens, 58, took to the podium during the public-comments portion and threatened to “beat senseless” the city’s code-enforcement officer, Mark Yerskey. Owens, who was last jailed on charges of organizing underground “fight nights” of female combatants, lashed out concerning $2,000 in citations for alleged recent loud parties at his property. He claimed the citations are an attempt to get him sent back to prison and said of Yerskey, “He destroyed my family. I will destroy his.” City Manager Michael P. Ceci calmly told the council not to respond to Owens’ outbursts and let him speak until adjourning the meeting.

While many parents, principals, Scout leaders and other authority figures have threatened to wash out a crass kid’s mouth with soap, a Harrisburg teacher apparently applied the clichéd phrase literally. “She told me to go by the sink and she got a bar of soap and she started rubbing it on my tongue,” 10-year-old Donald Thomas told a reporter for WHP-TV. The teacher at Camp Curtin Academy, a public school, was apparently punishing him for an argument with another student that occurred while she was away. (She did not witness the offense.) His mother, Ciara White, is keeping Donald out of school until the teacher is fired. “I just didn’t understand why this even had to happen,” she said. The Harrisburg School District did not respond to WHP’s request for comment.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation initially rejected a Crafton man’s application for a vanity license plate, requesting “Atheist 1,” “NO GOD,” or “N0 G0D” (with two zeroes), on the grounds that the phrases were “offensive or misleading.” Jeffrey Prebeg Jr., an avowed atheist (obviously), says he was particularly confused because a database search showed that someone in Pennsylvania already has a plate that reads “Atheist” (hence his “1”). “Just as someone getting ‘Jesus’ should be protected, someone getting ‘atheist’ should be protected as well,” Prebeg told After receiving a letter from an attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, PennDOT relented and agreed to let Prebeg have his choice of the three plates. The agency blamed the preliminary rejection on “employee error.”

Police in Cumberland County arrested Brandon King for allegedly driving a riding lawnmower down a street at about 1:30 a.m. while intoxicated, reports King, 26, was apparently driving the mower rather erratically, given the array of traffic violations with which he was also charged: failure to keep right, running a stop sign, failure to signal and careless driving.

Teri Lyn Padgett should have seen this coming. Padgett, a 57-year-old Jeannette woman, was arrested on charges of abusing her power of attorney to steal $220,400 from the bank account of her mother, who suffers from dementia, police told Reportedly, $50,000 of it went to a California psychic hotline and another chunk to an online astrology service.

James Stevenson reportedly broke into a Pittsburgh day care and stole snack-time offerings. Police told KDKA that Stevenson, 52, was caught on surveillance video entering A+ Child Care and made off with two 10-pound bags of Goldfish crackers and a gallon of apple juice.