HARRISON: A Buffalo Township motorist testified Wednesday that Cheswick Mayor Eric Strawoet inched up beside her on the Route 28 expressway, started waving for her to pull over and whipped out a badge.
District Justice Carolyn Bengel held for court charges of impersonating a public servant and disorderly conduct against Strawoet, 53, for his alleged involvement in the Aug. 22 incident that took place at about 6 p.m.
Brenda Livengood testified that Strawoet was riding behind her, about a foot away from her bumper, when he began to wave his arm. Livengood said she was afraid Strawoet was waving at a car ahead of the two, and she said she was fearful the two were plotting something against her.
But Livengood testified that she moved over to the passing lane. Strawoet pulled along side her and continued to wave his arms.
“He was on the right-side, passenger window with a badge inches away from the car,” the Buffalo Township woman testified. “We drove that way for a while.”
“There was nowhere I could go and he tried to run me off the road,” she said.
Livengood testified the badge was gold and in a black wallet. She said she assumed Strawoet was a police officer.
The victim said she finally got off the road at Exit 16 (Route 908/Millerstown) in Harrison, but said she doesn’t remember how she got over to the exit ramp since she had been in the passing lane.
Livengood said she pulled over at the beginning of the exit ramp, and said it looked as though Strawoet had opened his door and was going to get out while she said was trying to turn on her cell phone.
She said Strawoet then pulled away, and blew through a stop sign, before turning left. That’s when the victim said she called police.
Strawoet’s lawyer, Vince Tucceri, argued charges of impersonating a public servant should be thrown out because he said there was no indication the badge Strawoet used was a police badge and there was no indication he was trying to arrest her for speeding or pretending to perform any other official act.
But Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Evashavik told the magistrate that was irrelevant; that all that has to be proven is Strawoet tried to pull over the woman’s car.
Strawoet walked swiftly to his car after Wednesday’s hearing and didn’t comment to reporters. Tucceri also declined to comment.
Strawoet previously admitted to flashing his badge at two drivers whom he claimed were tailgating him.
“I’m not up on (Route) 28 trying to pull people over,” Strawoet previously told a reporter. “This is the part that really upsets me: I’m not doing anything wrong. These people are.”