YOUNGWOOD, Pa. (KDKA) — A longtime street department worker has been arrested by Westmoreland County detectives on charges he intentionally damaged equipment during September’s floods.
Youngwood Borough is accusing the 30-year employee of driving a street sweeper and dump truck into flood waters on purpose.
But at least one Borough Councilperson says that’s not what happened at all.
On September 10, the flood waters were deep — especially around the Borough garage, which houses the streets department equipment.
Street department worker Clifford Long, 59, was on scene and so was Llyod Crago, a councilman and Youngwood’s fire chief.
“I watched Mr. Long go into waist-deep sewage water which was flooding over at the sewage plant, and he started pulling equipment out of the garage to save them,” said Crago.
But that’s not what other Borough leaders say happened.
Long is now accused of intentionally damaging a street sweeper and dump truck, and allegedly moving them into waist-deep water on purpose.
He is being charged with two counts of criminal mischief and institutional vandalism.
On Thursday, Westmoreland County detectives filed the charges against the 30-year borough employee. They say Long made statements to elected officials that caused suspicion and prompted a criminal probe.
“Cliff has retired from Youngwood Borough. The Borough first caught irregularities when they turned over claims to the insurance company, and it was turned over immediately to the DA,” Youngwood’s solicitor said in a statement to KDKA.
Crago says this all has to be a misunderstanding — Long was a dedicated employee who worked for the fire department as well.
“The people involved in it weren’t on scene, on site. Some of the councilmen weren’t done there until I called them later,” Crago said.
The 2004 GMC street sweeper was valued at about $4,500 and the 1995 Ford dump truck had a value close to $2,500.
Youngwood Borough’s president says the only thing that matters is that the truth comes out.
Cliff Long has a preliminary hearing on June 11.