Pa. 1 dead, 17 injured after car plows into crowd at benefit for families of house fire victims

A man killed one person and injured 17 others when he drove through a crowd of people gathered for a fundraising event on Saturday before hitting a woman in a neighboring suburb, Pennsylvania authorities said.

The suspect, whose identity is being withheld, is in custody, state police said. Authorities did not say what charges he is facing.

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

After the crash, the suspect was charged with assaulting a woman in Neskop, where he was taken into custody by city police, Petroski said.

Police are investigating whether the suspect drove into the crowd on purpose, and have not said if the suspect is related to the woman killed in Nescope.

NBC affiliate WBRE Wilkes-Barre’s crowd has gathered To raise funds for families Of the three children and seven adults Died in early morning house fire August 5 at Nescop.

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

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

A benefit was held on Saturday at the Prohibition Department Bar and Restaurant. People also gathered in the adjacent outdoor area under the tent, where various vendors and a basket raffle were set up. The benefit will include a water balloon fight and a dunk tank, according to the bar’s social media.

“We can never replace the loss, but we can do what we can to support the family,” bar owner Lauren Hess told NBC affiliate WBRE of Wilkes-Barre Saturday.

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

“Today is an absolute tragedy,” the post said. “Respect our privacy while we grieve and try to process the events that have occurred.”

An investigation into the Aug. 5 fire is ongoing, with Pennsylvania State Police calling the case a “complex criminal investigation.” WBRE reported.

The fire broke out just before 3 a.m. and first responders reported flames that had engulfed the two-story home and thwarted their rescue efforts, officials said later in the day.

The house burned to the ground, and remains were discovered when officials went through the wreckage.

The dead included seven adults aged 19 to 79, two boys aged 5 and 6 and a 7-year-old girl. According to the Pennsylvania State Police.

Asked if the suspect in Saturday’s incidents could be a suspect in the Neskopk fire, Petroski said, “He’s not a suspect in that incident at this time.”

Neskop is a borough of over 1,600 people located 48 miles southwest of Scranton.

Joe Studley Contributed.

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