are traffic accidents a symptom of over-development?

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August 14, 2019 PM accident at Route 30 and 352/Sproul Rd in East Whiteland.

WARNING: RANT AHEAD. TURN AWAY NOW IF YOU AREN’T INTERESTED.

There was ANOTHER accident at Route 352/ Sproul Road and Route 30/Lancaster Avenue in East Whiteland Township again earlier this evening. Right after I came through the intersection basically.

There was an accident at a similar time LAST evening. Same location.

Are traffic accidents a symptom of over-development due to stressed overcrowded roadways?

This intersection in East Whiteland is much like a couple of problematic intersections in West Whiteland.  Take for example the West Whiteland intersection at Whitford Road from the train station side and Route 30/ Lancaster Ave/Lincoln Highway. Maybe there should be NO right turn on red and whatever else can happen to ensure better safety on the roads? I go through that particular West Whiteland intersection at least twice a week and people run that light there and just dive into the intersection.  This afternoon at a little past noon as a matter of fact, a BIG truck was what dove onto Route 30 West towards Downingtown from Whitford Road.  The light had changed. It was red for Whitford on all sides, but it didn’t matter people were diving left and right. 

But I digress, back to East Whiteland.

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From the people in Linden Hall  (which sits at 30 and 352) I have learned there are at least 25 kids in that development. Ages are infant though high school. Plus all of the adult residents.  Are there lives to spare, East Whiteland? I don’t think so.  (And don’t get me started on the sloppy ugly construction site left by Linden Hall as in the historic structure. Has anyone from East Whiteland bother to swing by to see the “parking lot”? Would you be happy as residents to see that site?)

Now BACK to the traffic at the intersection of Route 30/Lancaster Ave and Route 352/Sproul Road in East Whiteland. Can we talk about the people turning LEFT from Lancaster (westbound direction) onto Route 352/Sproul Road sit in CENTER of intersection even through signal changes effectively blocking ability of Linden Hall residents to safely exit their development— this development which East Whiteland approved and allowed to be built. And someone keeps denying them a left turn signal  they have requested of the township (or PennDOT?) so they can exit  more safely.  They are crammed in like lemmings in that development so why aren’t there enough people to justify it?

Can’t have it both ways. If East Whiteland Township (as well as neighboring townships) are going to cram every square inch with development they have a responsibility to ensure the safety of residents. For goodness sake, make these developers pay for sufficient road improvements and for installing township parks and stuff. It’s called conditions of plan approval, right????

But hey, we all know how traffic concerns in East Whiteland from Carol Lane and Summit residents got translated by certain East Whiteland supervisors the last time, remember?  All of a sudden, their traffic issues became the impetus for a traffic circle at Route 352/Sproul Road/North Chester Road and King, correct?

So…once again Carol Lane and Summit Road neighbors are attempting to have a meaningful conversation with East Whiteland to get what they feel are much needed traffic corrections to Summit, Carol, and those streets in THAT neighborhood.

WHAT THE RESIDENTS ARE TRYING TO MAKE EAST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP UNDERSTAND IS THAT THEY WANT IS TRAFFIC CALMING ON SUMMIT AND CAROL, PART OF SUMMIT FROM CAROL TO MADELINE AND SUMMIT BETWEEN CAROL AND WOODCREST.

I have born witness to the speeding on Carol and Summit myself as recently I drove through there to just see if I could get the idea of what goes on. What goes on is people cut through and speed. I had someone on my tail and for a couple of moments I actually thought they might pass me for doing speed limit. My friends over there tell me they have had cut through speeders pass them for going the speed limit.

This neighborhood has at least 20 children on Summit from Carol to 352, 10 on Carol, 8 or 9 on another connecting street and dog walkers, walkers, and joggers. Are there lives to spare here at this location, East Whiteland?

People living in East Whiteland and neighboring townships are really struggling to co-exist with the insane amount of development. Residents should matter more than the ratables and ill-advised development saturated comprehensive plans on a local or county level. But do residents matter?

After all residents in East Whiteland have expressed concern about the number of living units for what they call “Frazer Lanes Redevelopment“. Everyone agrees the site could stand to be improved BUT what will life be like when 227 units in 4 stories on 5 acres is built with 330 total parking spaces across from the Wawa at the corner of 30 and Planebrook?

What will life be like as you go west on 30 and hit the intersection of Ship Road if that development gets built?

Inquirer: Another Wawa may be coming to Chester County after town officials change zoning rules
by Katie Park, Updated: May 23, 2019

A Wawa may soon be built next to a centuries-old chapel and tavern in Chester County after officials approved a zoning change that cleared the way for the convenience-store giant.

The West Whiteland Township Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 on Wednesday to allow Wawa to move into a yet-to-be-built 5,600-square-foot building — complete with eight gas pumps — at 690 E. Lincoln Highway, once home to an Entenmann’s pastry factory and outlet store….As a result of the supervisors’ decision, developer Eli Kahn, the owner of eight acres at 690 E. Lincoln Highway, said he would likely not go forward with his original plans to build 130 apartments and a three-story office building there in favor of about 80 townhouses, the building he plans to lease to Wawa, and two other retail buildings that he could also rent out.

NVR Homes, which teamed up with Kahn, has also indicated it would not build more than 400 apartments and townhouses on 52 acres at 500 E. Lincoln Highway — the former home of the Laborers’ Training Facility — and instead opt for about 90 single-family homes and 65 townhouses, West Whiteland officials said.

Is it just me or is the Ship Road Couplet and development insanity…well, crazy?

Here is where you click to see most of what West Whiteland has going on development-wise: Spring 2019 Present & Proposed Developments Map

Here is where you click to see most of what East Whiteland has going on development-wise: Subdivision and Land Development Plans.

And we can’t leave East Goshen out of the equation given the Paoli Pike debacle can we? You see, the East Goshen Board of Supervisors will meet to discuss the proposal from The Hankin Group on further development of 1351 Paoli Pike on Tuesday, August 29, 2019 at 7:00 pm.

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And don’t get me started on West Goshen and that hideous development at Greystone (I tell you what I sure wouldn’t be a bride paying for a pricey wedding at the Greystone Hall venue now.)

And there is what? Another elementary school being built over there? (But hey now development doesn’t add to the burdens of a school district, right? )

Back to East Whiteland (and anyone else in Great Valley School District).  I still think in my humble opinion it is not a question of IF but WHEN the Great Valley School District will be dealing with a Great Valley East and Great Valley West situation.  Whose land will they take to deal will the growing population and a need for larger if not additional schools?

Back to what inspired this post: stressed out infrastructure. In this case roads and intersections ill-equipped to effectively handle traffic. And it’s only getting worse.  In East Whiteland every which way you turn there is yet another development.  Much like West Whiteland. But the roads? The roads are essentially the same and how can they be?

Can I say planning in these townships and at the county level just sucks? It does. It just sucks.  Chester County Planning Commission has a NON-resident as it’s Executive Director and it shows. That guy is not invested in our communities. He is a non-resident carpetbagger the taxpayers are paying for.  Landscapes is a joke as well. The “vision” message is clear: development, development, development. Seriously. LOOK at the interactive development map.

Zoning in townships like East Whiteland and West Whiteland should benefit the residents. But can it be said zoning benefits special interests and developers mostly?

Oh I know, I know.  This is indeed a full-on rant but something has got to give.  And I say a side effect of development are accidents since I feel traffic accidents a symptom of over-development due to stressed and overcrowded roadways.

We as residents deserve better. We also need better representation in local government.  As residents, we need to take our power back collectively. After all did any of us move to Chester County so we could live in King of Prussia-lite or Bensalem-lite?

NOPE.

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August 13, 2019 PM accident at Route 30 and 352/Sproul Rd in East Whiteland.

change comes to frazer

Change comes to Frazer in leaps and bounds these days. On Sunday, John’s Pizza closes it’s doors and by Labor Day, the Alley Pub will be but a memory.

John’s Pizza closing is by personal choice of the family who owns it . That is a case of a well earned retirement.

But the Alley Pub? That’s development which has come calling. The accumulated parcels which also include the run down mobile home park and the old bowling alley Frazer Lanes according to the developer’s blog will result in over 200 new…apartments.

Now there is no doubt that the mobile home park was in bad shape. But had the township (East Whiteland) allowed that to deteriorate over the years by looking the other way when they should have maybe inspected more and what not? There is another mobile home park down the road from the now closed one. Different owner, better care taken of it. There is a mobile home on Barton Hill Road next to Ebeneezer’s ruins. Also in good shape and is more of a community.

But the thing about this mobile home park going away and it being replaced with apartments leaves me with mixed emotions. How many apartments, townhomes, townhouses, carriage homes do we need?? East Whiteland has soooo many development plans. And all of it except for a small percentage are higher density plans.

If you move west into West Whiteland Township then you have all of their development. And they are putting a lot of apartments on Route 30 and already have a lot of townhomes or carriage homes or whatever the hell you want to call them.

And then what if you head over to West Goshen for a minute? Have you seen what’s going on at Greystone Hall? (Hint, check out the next two photos)

And if you go back into East Whiteland Township has anyone been to Flat Road or that vicinity recently? (Hint: see the next two photos)

So here we are in beautiful Chester County. Or it was beautiful and sadly with all the development it’s less beautiful every day. And our local municipalities all over the county are allowing this one bad plan at a time.

But back to these apartments in Frazer. Are you really going to want to spend a couple thousand dollars to live in an apartment that’s next to a run down gas station and sort of across the street from what used to be a mattress store and Wawa?

Yet there are the slum lord properties that are ignored. These are in East Whiteland along Route 30:

So when you talk about the slumlord housing along Route 30 in East Whiteland combined with whatever is left of mobile home parks you’re talking about the entire supply of affordable housing if it is actually affordable because I don’t know.

And that’s the thing about all of these developments regardless of the municipality in Chester County: where IS the affordable housing?

That is one of the problems I have with all of this development no matter what township. Lack of affordable housing. Look at what’s being proposed in Easttown Township to the east of East Whiteland. More apartments and already cheek to jowl townhouses that are not attractive and not affordable. They are expensive.

And East Goshen. Even once sensible East Goshen is no longer immune from bad development plans.

I just have to keep shaking my head and wondering where are all the regular people who don’t want to live in McMansions or McMansion priced apartments and townhouses supposed to go? Where do retirees go if they can’t afford Hershey’s Mill or the other two places near it in the retirement Bermuda Triangle?

And what about the stress all this development places on our first responders, our school districts, our infrastructure? And when things like entire mobile home parks disappear what happens to the people that used to call it home? People in this country like to talk about helping the disadvantaged and the financially challenged or poor but really do they?

I don’t have those answers. But in my opinion all of this development is going to come back and bite every Chester County resident in the rear someday. This is why we desperately need better planning more sound and competent zoning and elected officials that actually consistently give a damn about their residents.

I am not against change as far as development goes as long as it occurs in moderation. But I am against all of this greedy ass development gobbling up acre after acre of Chester County like Pac-Men. And these plans aren’t even attractive. They are just designed to get each developer the most money possible out of each site.

Rant over. (For now.)

a grinch from lancaster leaves a comment and more pipeline follies

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So the other day I wrote a post about pipeline liens being filed against beleagured residents in Pennsylvania who have had pipelines shoved down their throats and land taken by eminent domain for private gain.

And I say eminent domain by private gain versus eminent domain for public purpose because the natural gas companies filing for PUC utility status in Pennsylvania is BOGUS. So BOGUS.

Why?

Because what they rape from the ground and ship across multiple counties doesn’t stay here does it? It is EXPORT, isn’t it? Like for plastics in Scotland? So where is the public benefit?

And let’s talk about the pipeline WORKERS. They are IMPORTS, right? Texas, Maryland, Oklahoma, etc as you can see from their license plates, correct? So these pipline companies are EXPORTING the gas and “other hydrocarbons” and IMPORTING workers from other places so any way you care to look at it, how can they say PUBLIC PURPOSE? It’s not. When they say that it is just P.R. swill, isn’t it?

People in Chester County not too far from me have had their land seized and properties devalued (because who in the hell wants to buy a house in a neighborhood after the pipelines have visited and sinkholes have opened up, wells have been polluted?)

In Berks and other counties homeowners have been subjected to the SAME heinous actions and now to add insult to injury, are being threatened with Mechanics Liens by subcontractors who were employed by the pipeline companies.  That was why I wrote the post about it HERE.

Don’t believe me? An actual letter was shared with LancasterOnline and was published today. I screen shot it and blocked off the homeowner name and address:

So how about that? Crazy, right? Not only have these people had land siezed, the pipelines aren’t paying their subcontractors and they are being targeted instead of the pipeline companies who actually employed them? Merry freaking Christmas.

Lancaster Online: Homeowners along gas pipelines in Lebanon, Berks counties shocked to find threats of liens in mail
AD CRABLE | Staff Writer 2 hrs ago

Fallout from the bankruptcy of Welded Construction, the main contractor in two local gas pipeline projects, has ensnared landowners in Berks and Lebanon counties with the threat of liens on their properties.

Lancaster County residents are wondering if they could be next.

Three homeowner couples and the Twin Valley School District near Morgantown, Berks County, were astounded to find legal letters in their mailboxes recently.

The letters were from United Piping Inc., a Minnesota-based subcontractor that says it has not been paid by Welded for work on the controversial Sunoco Mariner East natural gas liquids pipeline that runs through their properties.

United Piping was giving the property owners formal notice of the company’s intent to go to Berks County court within 30 days to file “mechanics liens” on their land….In Lebanon County, meanwhile, Dykon Blasting Corp. — an Oklahoma subcontractor that worked on the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline and says it has not been paid by Welded — has mailed similar legal letters to landowners….He said affected landowners can contact Williams for additional information by e-mail at AtlanticSunrise@Williams.com.

Despicable.

Heinous.

Oh and as this article was first being read by folks, I realized I had a nasty and somewhat menacing comment left on my other post:

GRINCH

This Grinch hails from Lancaster County.  It took about two minutes to find out exactly where he lived and what other nasty bits of business he has posted on the Internet. Also discovered the proximity of local police to them.

So FYI to the Grinch,  I retain all threatening comments. And law enforcement reads this blog on occasion. And not that it is any of his Grinch-y business BUT I actually don’t drive a big gas guzzling SUV.

And all the things that “modern free enterprise” give us does not start with the pipelines because none of it stays here. It’s EXPORT.  They don’t even employ local for the most part, they INPORT from elsewhere.

The other thing is if the pipeline subs are owed money  why aren’t they going to the gas companies for their money versus attacking the homeowners who have had their land stolen and properties devalued BY THE PIPELINE COMPANIES?

So Grinch, you want to be ignorant and threaten and not so subtly suggest I am a communist who should go to Cuba? Rock on with your bigoted self. Like I said, I have zero problem with letting law enforcement know about people who menace.

Now while we are dishing pipelines, let us pause for Adelphia Gateway.  They are a comin’. There are in front of federal regulators and will be in Chester County municipalities like Westtown, East Goshen, West Goshen and East Whiteland and more.

Here is what Vinny Vella from The Philadelphia Inquirer had to say yesterday:
PENNSYLVANIA
Philly.com Upper Bucks residents lob pipeline complaints at DEP hearing
by Vinny Vella, Posted: December 5, 2018

On a brisk night in Bucks County, a group of retirees and young families unloaded on state officials their frustrations about natural-gas infrastructure.

“They say this pipeline is for the benefit of Pennsylvanians, but it is not. This line goes to Marcus Hook for export,” said Christine Shelly of West Rockhill Township. “Adelphia is looking to squeeze the last drops of a dying energy source out of the ground, oblivious to the cries of the people, who plead for protection as our air, ground and water become fouled.”…Adelphia Gateway LLC is proposing to convert a hybrid oil/natural gas pipeline to solely pump natural gas from a plant in Northampton County to a refinery in Marcus Hook, Delaware County. The company, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, bought the 84-mile pipeline from Talen Energy Co. last year for $189 million….

Adelphia did not send any representatives to the hearing, nor was it required to, according to Rebarchak. The company has said it’s working closely with township officials to create a facility that blends into the area “while delivering much-needed natural gas safely to its intended end users.”

During its air-quality review, DEP officials will weigh the residents’ comments — as well as any others submitted in writing before Dec. 14.

People before pipelines. It’s long past due.  There are not any real safety plans in place and how well what is around would work as we saw in a Boston suburb within the past few months because when they blow (the situation in Boston was described by residents as “looking like Armageddon”) , they decimate everything in the explosion’s path. They are shoving these things through school properties, libraries, churches, farmers’ fields, and so on and so forth.

So do not tell any of us expressing valid concerns about these rape and pillage corporate greed projects is being anti-American.  It doesn’t get anymore American than wishing to #DefendWhatYouLove

Thanks for stopping by. #NotOurPipelines

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Photo taken by Chester County Resident and posted to  Uwchlan Safety Coalition.  Notice the child’s play area in someone’s backyard that the pipeline pipes are literally on top of.

it’s all about the money, honey

Drove by Greystone Hall today. What a sh*t show. They have already updated their website to reflect the 34 acres they kept after selling to the developer.

“The Woodlands at Greystone”. Another preposterous development name. West Goshen Township should be ashamed, but like most municipalities, in the end all they do is roll over and show the developers their municipal bellies.

This development which has already begun as you can see, will litter the area with what? 598 MORE homes for the area?

Ugh.

But hey, when it comes to development it’s always all about the money, honey.

SHUT DOWN. sunoco is halted again (for now) on the mariner east pipeline…

From Uwchlan Safety Coalition via Facebook:

The #emergency order from the PUC has been granted! #MarinerEast 1 will be shut down!!!!!

Public hearing will be March 15th!

#Uwchlan must be heard here! Please, while many of you have already #emailed your supervisors today, please, do it again!

Ask for them to file their own complaint with PUC!

Consider this! Uwchlan Township is next door to the area where #Sunoco did not do their homework on the geology and put public safety and property at risk! Our water supply and our unique land formations including a fault line exists along the pipeline route in Uwchlan! Let’s make sure Sunoco has done their job correctly here!

Email our township supervisors asking for the complaint to be filed at PUC!

WMiller@uwchlan.com

MBaumann@uwchlan.com

KDoan@uwchlan.com

http://www.puc.state.pa.us/pcdocs/1556680.pdf

#noME2 #stopETP #shutitdown

What is in the media (there is more as this story is spreading like wildfire, I just posted a couple of sources):

Delco Times Heron’s Nest by Phil Heron Thursday March 8:

PUC pulls plug on Mariner East 1 – for now

Karst….I’m pretty sure Sunoco Pipeline is already tired of hearing it.

Karst refers to a geologic formation where the ground is situated on old limestone formations that have been weakened by moisture over decades.

It turns out it’s a pretty common occurrence in this area – particularly across a swath of Chester County.

Exactly in many of the same spots where Sunoco Pipeline is now running gases through its Mariner East 1 pipeline and is constructing Mariner East 2….These weakened karst areas are susceptible to sinkholes, fissures and other ground settling, in particular when the ground is disturbed, such as when drilling trenches for a new pipeline.

READ MORE HERE

and… Philadelphia Inquirer…

PUC orders Sunoco pipeline shutdown after sinkholes expose bare pipe near Exton

Updated: MARCH 7, 2018 — 5:36 PM EST

by Andrew Maykuth, Staff Writer amaykuth@phillynews.com

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Wednesday ordered the immediate shutdown of Sunoco Pipeline’s Mariner East 1 system after sinkholes exposed the bare pipeline in Chester County, which PUC investigators said “could have catastrophic results” if not repaired.

Gladys M. Brown, the PUC’s chair, granted an emergency order to halt operations on the 8-inch-diameter pipeline, which went into service in 1931 originally to carry motor fuel. It now carries up to 70,000 barrels a day of high-pressure volatile natural gas liquids such as propane from the Marcellus Shale gas region to a Sunoco terminal in Marcus Hook

Craziness.

How is it life had to reach a crisis point like this?

Apparently where the pipeline is causing sinkholes over in West Whiteland is also close to train tracks? Active train tracks? As in AMTRAK tracks? I am guessing the railroad will not be too happy about this when they check it out or we can hope, right?

There is so much that could go wrong and so much that already has it gone wrong, right?

And all they are doing is back filling sinkholes with concrete, correct? Considering we are talking Karst formations (and geology is not my forte and I have heard other terminology used as well with Chester County and the sinkholes which can occur) are they just going to turn Chester County into one giant concrete pad and that is their solution?

Is Sunoco/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer Partners L.P. that greedy that they would put our homes, health,safety, and welfare at risk like this? (Yes, I realize that is a somewhat redundant question, but it has to be asked yet again, doesn’t it?)

Supervisors, commissioners, and borough officials throughout Chester County really should be paying attention to this. And a lot of them aren’t. And if you live in a Township affected by pipelines you should be pressuring your elected officials to contact the PUC immediately!

And this is also why people shouldn’t just roll over with regard to the Adelphia Gateway pipeline poised to become Mariner East- Lite.

Go ahead, plug your address into that interactive pipeline map Chester County Planning Commission has on their pipeline information page. You will see what I saw that there are a lot of pipelines crisscrossing Chester County and neighboring counties. I was told (and I have no reason to disbelieve the person who told me) that a lot of these pipeline companies are waiting to see what happens with Sunoco, so doesn’t that say to you if we don’t stop this now as an extended dual county and extended county community, we will just keep fighting the same thing over and over again?

Our homes are our castles. They want to take part of our land via eminent domain as fake utility companies and we’re supposed to be OK with that and all the havoc pipelines are causing?

Bull Twaddle.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not OK with it. I’m not OK living in a blast zone, that’s just as bad as having the pipeline go down my street as far as I’m concerned.

Perhaps the most galling thing of all is still the fact that we don’t benefit for what they are raping our land for and destroying our property values for, are we?

What is being plundered from the very ground below us, doesn’t benefit us. It gets shipped overseas, doesn’t it?

Please note the photos used in this post are courtesy of Eric Friedman/Middletown Coalition for Community Safety. If I have not attributed properly– community groups, please let me know.

#DefendWhatYouLove – there is no other option. We live here. It’s where we call home. We cannot as a collective extended community just silently fall victim to these corporations.

cold case curiosity in chester county

A friend of mine sent me a link to a news story today.  It was a reprint of a Daily Local article from 1964 :

#TBT: Grave of missing child found, 1964 murder which shook Chester County

POSTED: 03/30/17, 8:17 AM EDT

Editor’s Note: This story is from the Nov. 30, 1964 issue of the Daily Local archives.

Connie Evans was found dead yesterday afternoon.

The West Goshen Township girl’s body was discovered by a Berwyn man, out for a walk, in a shallow grave just south of Chester and Berkley roads in Easton Township.

Police said the indications were the child was strangled….

Investigators said that the girl may have been slain shortly after she was last seen on Oct. 24. That was five weeks and one day ago.

The girl’s grave was about one mile southeast of the Easttown Township police headquarters, a mile directly south of Rt. 30 and a half mile north of Sugartown Road.

It was on the estate of Theodore K. Warner Jr. , a member of the township’s board of supervisors.

The girl’s mother, who lives in a tenant house on the Jerrehian estate, just above Rt. 29 and the West Chester bypass, was visited by Sgt. Francis Kofke of the West Goshen Township police force, last night….The girl’s grave was about 150 yards south of the supervisor’s home, near a large pine tree and in a fairly open area,” according to an investigator….The grave was 36 feet in from Berkley Road, at one side of a seldom-used path which is entered through posts of a wooden gate. A wooden fence which had stretched for some distance on either side of the gate has rotted away, and most of it is on the ground….Connie had left home shortly after 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, her 15th birthday. She walked south on Rt. 29 toward West Chester, to meet on the way a friend, John Launi, 15, of 208 W. Gay st. West Chester, as she had done several times previously….The crime was never solved though a local private detective says she knows who committed the murder.

 

Yes I watch way too many detective stories, so I Googled .  First of all, the article mentions the Jerrehian Estate. That means this girl and her mom lived on the old Sharples Estate in West Chester – where Greystone Hall is.

(The Sharples Estate’s Greystone Hall was the brain child of architect Charles Barton Keen who was the grandfather of one of my close friends.  I also remember when the Jerrehian family was fighting the West Chester Area School District over eminent domain. In more recent time, people have been up in arms about development on the Jerrehian Estate. But I digress.)

I Googled some more and came up with a Find A Grave page for Mary Constance Evans.  The Find A Grave page created by a Daniel Oh (whom I do not know how to reach in a timely manner) contained a piece by a private detective. Her name is Eileen Law, and I spoke with her this afternoon. I realized as I was reading what she wrote that I wanted her permission to republish what she wrote in it’s entirety, not just an excerpt.  So I looked up her office telephone number and gave her a call. What an awesome lady!  She gave me her permission so here we go:

Rest in Peace Connie Evans
By Private Detective Eileen Auch Law

On Saturday, October 24th, 1964, Mary Constance “Connie” Evans (her family called her “Conti”) left her home on the Jerrehian Estate at 1028 Phoenixville Pike in West Chester, (West Goshen Township) Pennsylvania at approximately 1:35 p.m. It was her 15th birthday. She formerly lived on Darlington Street in the borough of West Chester and attended North Junior High. She was to meet her boyfriend, John Launi, who was going to meet her halfway, and accompany her into West Chester so that she could buy a birthday present. Later, the two were to meet with her mother and aunts in town for dinner and a birthday cake her mom had yet to pick up. When John knocked at her mother’s door asking for her, Mrs. Evans knew something was wrong…

Mrs. Evans (also Connie) contacted West Goshen Police Department immediately. The first officer who responded was a friend of Mrs. Evans – Sgt. Fran. (He did not want his last name used.) He took down all of the information and Mrs. Evans was told that they had to wait another day before they could put the information about her disappearance out in case she was a runaway. Some thought perhaps she might have left to see her father in New Mexico and stay with him awhile. Mrs. Evans knew better…

A search team was put together and well over two hundred volunteers from law enforcement, Fame Fire Company, neighbors and friends combed a four square mile area. Blood hounds were brought in and tracked her scent to the vicinity of Phoenixville Pike and Route 322. Several private airplanes and two helicopters from the Willow Grove Naval Air Station crisscrossed the area for hours and reported seeing nothing out of the ordinary. Men on horseback, scuba divers who searched reservoirs, lakes and ponds were disbursed. Law enforcement set up road blocks questioning passersby to no avail. They all believed that there is no way Connie would have gotten into a vehicle with a stranger on her own volition. Further, many told me that she would have fought like hell anyone who tried to harm her.

A man named Fred, who lived on Phoenixville Pike and who was getting his mail that afternoon, called police with some disturbing information. He told them he saw a man who appeared to be half black and half Hispanic or Italian drive by who had gone off the road a couple of times driving pretty fast. He says he got a good look at him, and what was disconcerting was that this man had an “arm lock around a girl’s neck who had dark brown hair – like he was hurting her – her head was flush up against him so he couldn’t see her face.” He was headed away from West Chester on Phoenixville Pike just before King Road.

West Goshen Police Officers Lt. Tom Flick, Sgt. Fran and others, talked about a man they knew from West Chester who matched that description and whom they knew had been in trouble with the law. They also learned he frequently beat up his wife. They contacted West Chester Police Department and asked if they had a picture of the alleged perpetrator. They did, and turned over a copy to them. West Goshen put together a composite of several different pictures of various people with the same look, and then went to see Fred. Without hesitation, Fred pointed to the man in question and said, “THAT’S HIM!!!”

They learned that this man, although from West Chester, worked picking up trash for a trash collector in the Berwyn area. Lt. Flick went down to the company and picked him up and brought him in for questioning. I’ll call the man “Ef.” He brought Ef into the station and learned that he had formerly been arrested for child molestation and rape, for which he served time in Eastern State Penitentiary. Ef continued saying: “I can’t go back to jail again. I can’t go back to jail.” West Goshen received a call from Ef’s boss saying: either arrest him or release him. I have unhappy customers who need their trash picked up.” They released him…

On Sunday, November 29th, 1964, at approximately 1:00 p.m., 36 days after Connie went missing, Joseph Celsi, 37, an insurance underwriter, while walking his dog along Berkley Road on the Theodore K. Warner Estate in Devon (about a half mile away from the Devon Horse Show grounds) discovered an area where his dog started to dig at. He saw strands of brown hair protruding from this area where it appeared another animal had started to dig. He found a hand…

He flagged down a passing motorist who contacted Easttown Township Police Department. Then Patrolman Stanley Scott (now a Judge) and Chief of Police John Bunce responded. Patrolmen Scott examined the shallow grave right beneath an evergreen tree. He dug Connie’s body up by hand. She was naked from the waist down. The black leather jacket and the watch she had been wearing were never found. That night, Mrs. Connie Evans, next to her friend, Sgt. Fran, stood mute as he showed her the clothing: a blouse, knee length dungarees, undergarments, and a gold friendship ring. When he asked if they were Connie’s, all she could do was nod her head.

An autopsy was performed by Chester County Coroner Thomas Monteith and the cause of death was listed as strangulation. Further identification was made with dental records. Over three hundred people attended the funeral of Mary Constance Evans. Many, like me, had never even met her. She is buried in St. Agnes Cemetery…

Many people were questioned. Theories and rumors abounded, including one that a teacher may have been involved, or a police officer or a high profile official. Each department had their own theory. West Goshen P.D. never stopped believing it was “Ef.” In fact, they picked him up again, and questioned him. They also wondered where his vehicle was. Ef told them that someone had stolen it. Based on the information they received from the resident Fred, they arrested him for Murder believing they had enough probable cause. Ef went before Magistrate Meredith Cooper, who believed there was not enough evidence to bind him over for court, and he was released…

Sometime much later, an Officer from Tredyffrin Township Police Department discovered an abandoned vehicle which appeared to have been “torched.” They were able to determine that the vehicle belonged to none other than Ef, with a West Chester address. The address was on Miner Street, right around the corner from where Connie had formerly lived. “Mrs. Ef” who had two children – a daughter and a son around Connie’s age, told them she had been separated from her husband. He would go there to visit his children on occasion. Sadly, back then, none of the departments shared information. West Goshen was not aware that Tredyffrin found a torched car belonging to Ef and Tredyffrin wasn’t aware that Ef had been picked up for questioning, let alone arrested…

Like many of my friends and classmates, I became involved in this case when I was eleven years old. Connie lived a couple of miles away from where I grew up. I was told by my parents I was never allowed to ride my bicycle into West Chester again. Though I never met Connie, her school picture in the newspaper with a smile of what appeared to be a sweet girl haunted me. Even today, when I drive past the place she was last seen or her then home, I get a lump in my throat ~ just like so many other people I have talked with over the years…

When I became the District Attorney’s secretary, later a paralegal in 1971, I studied Connie’s file, vowing to find her killer. I met many in law enforcement back in those days from various departments, all sharing their own stories and memories. On December 23, 1998, Lt. Tom Flick, Lt. Richard Weimer, former Commander of the Pennsylvania State Police and with whom I worked as a Detective before, and Officer Phil (formerly of West Chester Police Department) stopped by my office unannounced. They saw a file I have kept on my desk all of these years with the label: “Connie Evans.” Tommy said, “How could you know anything about that case – you were a kid! I was the lead investigator.” I told him it had haunted me all of my life, and that before I died, I vowed to find out who did it. We all talked for at least four hours. I took copious notes, and we all agreed that we would form a team to prove who killed Connie. Of course, Tommy already knew. He just couldn’t prove it. We met frequently and unfortunately, Tommy and Dick passed away, Phillip who had come to work for me as my Chief of Security, retired, and I was left to do it on my own. Or so I thought…

Recently, information came to me about Connie’s case. I was told that the teacher in question had not only committed suicide, but left a note behind confessing to killing Connie, and that it had been turned over to the authorities within the past year or so. I contacted the District Attorney and several law enforcement officers from the various departments. None were aware of any such note. I spent days searching newspaper articles, pulling old records, talking to witnesses, old teachers and family members and going back over the notes I made from viewing the file many years ago, and the information Tommy had provided. I tracked down the teacher’s widow, and spoke with her, her sister and the teacher’s sister. I got to the bottom of how this rumor started and more importantly, how it snowballed and took on a life of its own. Each time it was repeated, most especially at class reunions, a new comment was added much like a “whisper down the lane” type thing. People just wanted to lay to rest unresolved questions desperately seeking answers for a young girl whose memory was forever embedded in their minds…

With the most recent rumors behind, I wanted to make good on my vow to resolve this case once and for all and, specifically, to concentrate on and learn more about Ef whom so many believed was responsible. Ef’s mother, from West Chester, had been raped by an African American man while she was married. She had other children before and after Ef was born. When Ef was in eighth grade, he had stolen money from his parents, and when he pulled a knife on his “father” that was the last straw: he was kicked out of his home. He lived on the street for a while, and went from home to home, and married a woman who was sixteen years old. I found their marriage license application for whom his wife’s father signed for her as she was a minor. They had two children who lived on Miner Street: right around the corner from where Connie lived. We believe she knew the children and their parents. Ef’s family had called him a “bad seed” as he was always getting into trouble. He had not only a juvenile record, but had been arrested for child molestation and rape and served time in Eastern State Penitentiary. Ef’s wife, now deceased, divorced him. When I pulled the records, she even listed the docket number of the Rape case in the divorce complaint. I was curious to see what address Ef had been served at: My heart pounded when I saw the address in Devon — it was exactly one block away from where Connie Evans body was found…

I learned through records, a police officer, Mrs. Evans and Connie’s best friend, that the day she went missing, she had started her period. It is our belief that Ef torched his car to hide blood and any other evidence left as a result of what was no doubt a struggle in that car. Yesterday, I tracked down and spoke with Fred, the man who identified Ef driving erratically with the girl in the car. He is 90 years old now, and says he remembers it like it was yesterday. He described the vehicle exactly like what had been found by Tredyffrin so many years ago. While there isn’t concrete proof that Connie got into Ef’s vehicle, we now know that she knew Ef, as he was the father of her friends and neighbor. She had no reason to fear him. There are so many other aspects to this story and case. I could go on for hours. I don’t believe it’s important…

Ef died in the late 1980’s. You won’t find his grave. He was cremated because his estranged family didn’t have enough money to bury him. His former wife has passed as well. So did another woman with whom he lived in Berwyn. I found and spoke with his daughter who told me she really didn’t know her father. She said he started drinking heavily in the 1960’s and became an alcoholic…

While there isn’t DNA evidence to confirm many years of searching and putting pieces of the puzzle together, Connie’s parents and those of us who have worked on the case over the years are satisfied that this can finally be put to rest. Next month will mark the 47th year she has been gone, but never forgotten…

I learned a few other things: for years, on the anniversary of Connie’s disappearance and birthday, West Goshen Police Department set up road blocks in the vicinity of Phoenixville Pike and Route 322 handing out flyers and questioning people with the hopes that they may have seen something. Sadly, I learned that Sgt. Fran was so upset and frustrated about the outcome of Connie’s case; he left the department and moved to Florida. He was instrumental in helping me. When I told him of my findings, he got so choked up he couldn’t speak and when he did, all he could say was “Thank you.” Lastly, I learned that as a result of this case and the impact it made on a young man who had volunteered on the search team to find her, he went into the legal field and has been a Court of Common Pleas Judge and sits on the bench today. He is known to be firm, but fair to all who come before him…

Mr. and Mrs. Evans wanted me to thank all of the people who searched for Connie, prayed for her, and more importantly, never forgot her. Mr. Evans specifically asked that this story be told to the news media to give people closure…

As for me, I’ve always believed that when Connie took her last breath on earth, she breathed new life in Heaven. What a life that must be! I’m cautiously optimistic that when I drive past the area where she lived, the lump in my throat will be replaced with a smile.

Detective Eileen Auch Law
President, CIA, Inc.
September 16, 2011
 
 Burial:
Saint Agnes Cemetery
West Chester
Chester County
Pennsylvania, USA 
Created by: Dan Oh
Record added: Jun 04, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 37913048

 

I know from Ms. Law that she has had people reach out to her since The Daily Local chose this particular case to highlight as a #TBT.  And if you read her words above, if DNA evidence had been in effect in the 1960s, her case would be officially solved, and there would be no mystery.

This story of Connie Evans has had a profound effect of so many people.  She is a teenager frozen in time ans space. A life just beginning when it was frozen in time by her murder.  She could be anyone’s child.  Her poor mom.  Her parents were split up at a time when it was hard for a woman to be on her own, let alone raise a child on her own. Connie inspired Eileen Law to become a private detective.

These cases involving children are the worst, and even if they are adults when something happens, they are someone’s children. Like another missing person case that has interested me because it started in Lower Merion Township where I once lived – the missing person case of a nurse named Toni Lee Sharpless. (Yes, the Magic Kingdom does have a slightly sordid underbelly, doesn’t it?) My pal, writer Kathleen Brady Shea wrote about Toni Sharpless in August, 2016.

Back to Connie Evans.

Where Connie Evans was found – near or on Berkley Road in Devon in Tredyffrin is an area quite familiar to me.  Especially since I occasionally photograph the old houses on the Tredyffrin House Tour for my friend Pattye Benson.

I never knew about Connie Evans until my friend who is a life-long Chester County resident messaged me the article today and said how her aunt, who was 14 at the time has never forgotten the story. Her aunt didn’t know her, but they were close enough in age growing up in Chester County and her death made an impact on so many.

What would Connie Evans have been like if she had lived? Would she have gone to college? Gotten married and had her own family? It’s so tragic.

It also makes you wonder what has become of the people who were her friends.  What about her boyfriend who was named John Launi? How did this horrific event impact all of their lives?

Life is a gift.  And once again after spending some time dwelling on the murder of Connie Evans today I am once again reminded of it. Love your friends and family.