News+Features » Weird Pittsburgh

Weird Pittsburgh: Angry cyclists, anthem threats and a Linda Blair sighting in York County

“Anyone not honoring this request to be respectful will be removed from the stadium.”

by

comment
Westmoreland County’s angriest bicyclist is back behind bars, accused of again violating a judge’s orders to stay off his bike. David Smith, 57, is notorious in the area for cycling in the center of lanes on major roads and for his profanity-filled outbursts at motorists who try to pass him. One resident told WTAE that Smith is easy to spot: “You see a biker and then you see 10 or 15 [cars] behind him.” Smith inspired a Facebook page, The Greensburg Bicyclist Spotting Page, on which people recount nasty encounters and share video footage. (“Tonight had a run in with him!” wrote one poster. “Called me a fuckhead and thr[ew] water at me and then the bottle.”) Much to the interest of this online community, Smith is awaiting trial on eight criminal charges, stemming from bike-related incidents dating back to 2012. He has insisted in court that all charges are the result of police and motorists’ misunderstanding of cyclists’ rights. At a June 2015 hearing, a judge admonished him for appearing in court in his full cyclist outfit and clutching a rock, recounts the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. As a condition of his bond, Smith was ordered not to bicycle on public roads. He has been arrested twice this year — in March and August — after police reportedly spotted him pedaling.

A smoking habit and an order of Chinese takeout might have caused the downfall of an illegal auto-sales operation in Butler County. A man took his daughter’s car to Lube Pro in Adams Township to have the air conditioner fixed. When he got it back, the car reportedly smelled of cigarette smoke, and he found a fortune cookie, not present when it was dropped off, in the glove compartment. He says he then noticed 850 miles added to the odometer. A detective assigned to the case allegedly discovered that Lube Pro owner Keith Smith was selling used cars without a license. The officer claims he went to the shop undercover and asked for a vehicle “good on gas and less than $6,000.” Smith, 60, reportedly showed him several for sale. Smith was arrested on a host of charges but denied all of them to the Cranberry Eagle. “We fix cars and that’s all we do,” he said. As for the supposed 850-mile road trip? Smith explained that mechanics often drive customers’ cars for diagnostic reasons.

After San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s bruising of America’s fragile ego by sitting during the national anthem, the Manheim Township School District apparently reworded its pre-game announcement to threaten to kick out anyone who doesn’t stand for the song. An announcer told attendees at a girls’ soccer match in the Lancaster County town, “During our national anthem, we ask that everyone display dignity and respect for our flag, the symbol of the freedom that was won by the millions of men and women who have defended and continue to defend our great nation. Anyone not honoring this request to be respectful will be removed from the stadium.” “I was like, ‘What, did they actually just say that?’” parent Jennifer Stallings Seabolt told LancasterOnline.com. The next day, Superintendent Robin Felty said the script was meant to evict anyone not “respectful” of the singer of the anthem, though she understands how it “can be construed as an attempt to make attendees stand.” She said the announcement will be changed.

Thousands of people say they will drive off Mount Washington to honor Harambe the gorilla. In its first week, the Nov. 9 Facebook event “Drive your car off of Mt. Washington for Harambe” got commitments from more than 8,500 attendees. (“Does anyone want to drive my other car so I can contribute twice?” asked Ian Dorto.) Nonsensical mentions of the gorilla, killed by Cincinnati Zoo officials in a much-criticized precaution when a child wandered into its enclosure, have become an online fad. “Harambe memes have spanned the gamut from darkly humorous to poignant, from logical to surreal,” wrote a tech blogger for The Atlantic. “There is, it appears, no limit to [the] range of non-sequiturs that can ride the Harambe meme.” Alexander Blair, organizer of the Mount Washington “event,” told PennLive.com that it’s a “social experiment.” “I’ll probably get banned from Facebook for this one,” Blair says. “Oh well. It’s like, for Harambe.”

A resident of Springettsbury Township, York County, went to investigate a noise outside his home and heard someone run off. According to the town police department’s online incident log, the man later found a photograph of actress Linda Blair, from the iconic movie The Exorcist, taped to his car windshield.

Add a comment