Roscoe woman threatens false arrest lawsuit in Donora

August 11, 2014

DONORA – A Roscoe woman claims she pleaded with Donora police they had the wrong person when an officer took her into custody on a warrant seeking the arrest of a man in February.

Police, however, detained Kerri Hoover “for a few hours” before setting her free because the bench warrant signed by a Washington County judge was for a man with a near-identical name, her attorney, Dennis Popojas, said Monday.

“They picked up the wrong person,” said Popojas, who last week notified Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane of his client’s intention to sue the Donora police department over the error.

“It’s an interesting case,” said Popojas, of Washington. “Mistakes happen.”

Pennsylvania law requires a notice be filed with the attorney general when someone plans to sue over such incidents.

In his letter to Kane, Popojas indicated Hoover’s constitutional rights were violated when she was apprehended in Donora at 9 a.m. Feb. 20 at Highland Terrace, 110 Highland Avenue.

Popojas also said the warrant stated it sought the arrest of a man named Kerry Hoover.

There was an active warrant at the time in that criminal case. It included his photograph, age, gender, eye color, hair color, date of birth, weight, height and license number, the record showed.

Kerry Hoover, 39, of Coal Center, was wanted for failure to appear in court to face charges filed by Charleroi Regional police in a theft case, court records stated.

Kerri Hoover, 27, does not have a criminal record in Washington County, or in any of the surrounding counties, according to court records.

The two Hoovers are cousins, a family member said.

Donora police Superintendent James Brice declined Monday to discuss the case because he had yet to receive all of the allegations.

Brice said he was aware of the false arrest, and that he would discuss the case with the borough’s insurance carrier.

It was not immediately known Monday when the lawsuit would be filed.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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