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Cheswick councilman accused of punching fire company president


CHESWICK, Pa. - A borough councilman is charged with punching Cheswick’s fire company president in Springdale last month.

Jonathon Skedel, 57, of Highland Avenue, Cheswick, is charged with simple assault and making a false statement to police investigating the assault, according to court papers.

Police allege Skedel was walking his dog along Pittsburgh Street about 9:45 a.m. on Sept. 19 when he encountered fire department President Joseph Ferraro, 61, coming out of Health Star Physical Therapy.

Skedel told police that Ferraro was the aggressor and jumped on Skedel’s back.

However, according to arrest papers, surveillance camera footage shows Skedel punching Ferraro “more than one time” and “does not show Ferraro jumping on Skedel’s back as he stated.”

Police Chief Joe Naviglia said officers reviewed the footage and interviewed the men as well as several witnesses.

In the affidavit, Ferraro alleges that he walked to his car in a parking lot, but when Skedel called Ferraro’s wife filthy names, Ferraro walked toward Skedel.

He alleges that’s when Skedel hit him.
Police said the charges were mailed to Skedel, who resigned last month as Cheswick Council president but remains a council member.

When a reporter asked him for comment, Skedel asked, “What charges?”
Skedel is represented by attorney James M. Ecker of Pittsburgh. Ecker said he looks forward to a preliminary hearing.

Ferraro said he is “getting better” but he “needs to have extensive dental work done.” He alleges Skedel “blindsided” him and punched him.

Ferraro told police he
continues to disagree with Skedel and others about funding for a Cheswick volunteer fire company truck. The fire department contends that the replacement truck is needed and that it needs borough tax money to pay for it. Ferrero said previously the current truck is worth $30,000 at most and needs about $100,000 in repairs.

Skedel has said that money instead be used to repair the borough’s water treatment plant.

On May 15, Skedel was part of the majority of council that voted, 4-3, to refuse to buy a fire engine.

Skedel has said he wants the Cheswick fire department to join the merger between the Harmar and Springdale township departments.

Ferraro and some other firefighters oppose that.

Skedel’s preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 19 before Cheswick District Judge David Sosovicka.

This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.