A Rochester Township patrolman has filed an official report alleging the town manager threw a fit after being pulled over for having expired inspection stickers, and that a Township Commissioner text messaged the officer during the traffic stop asking him to not issue the man citations. Now the town’s police chief has contacted the Pennsylvania State Police asking for an investigation into the matter.

According to a report by police, the incident occurred back on July 20th after a public meeting of Township Commissioners, when Patrolman Travis Mohrbacher was directed by fellow officers to issue Rochester Township Manager Thomas “Norm” Ely a written warning because his inspection and emissions were four months expired — Ely had allegedly already ignored multiple requests to get the problem taken care of.

The Beaver Countian obtained a copy of the police report about the incident in response to a formal Right-to-Know request.

“I was standing outside Rochester Township Office building talking to Officer [Kevin] Foltz and I seen Thomas Ely leaving the building,” wrote Officer Mohrbacher in his report. “Thomas drove out of the parking lot in a very fast manner, so I decided to follow him and he failed to come to a complete stop at the stop sign at Charlotte and Pentland Avenue and he failed to come to a complete stop at the stop sign at Pentland and Maple Street. So I conducted a traffic stop […] for a stop sign violation.”

Officer Mohrbacher was assisted on the traffic stop by Officer Foltz.

“Thomas Ely started yelling at me as soon as I got to his driver side window stating that this is all over bullshit political matters,” continued Officer Mohrbacher in his report. “[H]e opened his door and hit me in my right knee and gave me all of his information. I told Thomas why he was pulled over for a stop sign violation and that this was not a bullshit political matter […] I was just going to issue Thomas a warning to get his inspection taken care of but since he was very rude by yelling at me and hitting me with his door I issued him three citations for a stop sign violation, expired inspection of 3/2017 and expired emissions 3/2017.”

According to the report, as Officer Mohrbacher was writing the citations Township Manager Thomas Ely got on the phone with other township officials.

“While I was filling out his citations, I had one of the commissioners Tim [Lahue] text me,” wrote Mohrbacher.

Township Commissioner Lahue’s text message read: “Travis, for me, just write Norm a warning…PLEASE. Its a bullshit political matter.”

Officer Mohrbacher was not swayed.

“As I walked back up to the vehicle to give Thomas his information and citations to him, he stated that [Commissioner Lahue] was on his way here,” reported Mohrbacher. “Thomas was on the phone with [Commissioner Timothy Tuccinard] telling him that this is all bullshit. Thomas started to get out of control by yelling and opening his door again hitting me as I shut the door back.”

Having issued the citations, the officer left the scene.

In addition to being a Rochester Township Commissioner, Timothy Lahue is serving a six-year term on the town’s Civil Service Commission. Lahue’s live-in significant other, Debbie Pfeifer, is also a Commissioner in the town and is on the ballot for re-election this November. Outside of Rochester, Timothy Lahue serves as the Vice President of the Beaver County Regional Council of Governments.

Thomas Ely told the Beaver Countian during an interview conducted last Thursday that everything in Officer Mohrbacher’s report is essentially true.

“I had never seen the [police] report until after [the Beaver Countian] requested a copy of it,” said Ely. “The only thing in the report that I don’t believe is true in there is when I opened the door I didn’t know I hit the officer in the knee. I’m a bigger guy, I didn’t realize I did that, the door just popped open.”

Ely said he kept meaning to get his inspection and emissions renewed, but various things got in the way of appointments he had scheduled at the garage. He admitted he did not handle himself appropriately during his encounter with the officer.

“I was a little boisterous to that officer that night and I apologized to him he was just doing his job, it is what it is,” said Ely. “I didn’t call the Commissioners to get out of the ticket, I know that I did wrong and my inspection was up. I was just not happy that they seen me twice before that and didn’t do anything. I called Mr. Lahue [during the traffic stop] to get Mr. Tuccinard’s phone number to tell him I got pulled over, because I told him earlier I thought I would — I said watch what’s going to happen […] I didn’t even know Mr. Lahue sent a [text] message to [Officer Mohrbacher] until the next day.”

Thomas Ely told the Beaver Countian that he does not recall any business related to the police department being conducted at that night’s meeting, and “[did] not really know” what the “bullshit political matter” was that he and Lahue had blamed the traffic stop on.

Ely got his car inspected the day after he was written the citations. He pleaded not guilty to the traffic tickets issued to him by Officer Mohrbacher.

The Beaver Countian was in the courtroom for Thomas Ely’s traffic hearing held last Friday before Magisterial District Judge Dale Nicholson.

Magisterial District Judge Dale Nicholson’s offices / photo by John Paul

During the court proceedings, Ely admitted to District Judge Nicholson he had run the stop signs and that his inspection and emissions had been expired for months. He asked the judge to forgive the transgressions with his vehicle’s inspection stickers because he had since gotten them into compliance.

Officer Mohrbacher offered Ely a plea deal to a lesser charge for the stop sign violation that allowed him to avoid points on his license. District Judge Nicholson found Ely not guilty of the expired emissions but guilty of the expired inspection — reducing the amount Ely had to pay in fines while not eliminating them entirely.

“What troubles me is you went so long without inspection,” District Judge Nicholson told Ely when rendering his verdict.

The controversies surrounding the traffic stop were not brought up by either Thomas Ely or Officer Mohrbacher during the hearing.

The Beaver Countian watched several traffic hearings held that same morning, finding Officer Mohrbacher’s plea offer and Judge Nicholson’s split ruling consistent with how other cases were handled. In each case involving a stop sign violation, Mohrbacher offered the offender a plea deal that did not include points. In cases involving a combination of expired registration or inspections, District Judge Nicholson used his discretion when rendering a verdict to lessen the fines a defendant would be required to pay.

A law enforcement source familiar with Rochester Township Police Department’s handling of Thomas Ely’s traffic case said the matter is not over with.

“[Officer] Mohrbacher was in court for traffic violations committed by [Thomas Ely] and he did not treat him any more lenient or harsh than he would anyone else,” said the source, who spoke on condition they not be quoted by name. “Other things happened other than the traffic violations and that will be looked at separately.”

Multiple law enforcement sources have independently told the Beaver Countian that Rochester Township Police Chief George Yaccich has contacted the Pennsylvania State Police asking an outside investigation be conducted into the incident.

Along with being the Manager of Rochester Township, Thomas “Norm” Ely is currently a Democratic candidate for Mayor of Monaca Borough in an election that will be decided by voters in November.

Rochester Township Commissioner Tim Lahue did not return a detailed voicemail message left by the Beaver Countian seeking comment.

76 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds reminiscent of what is going on in Midland. Guess these elected/appointed officials are now figuring they are above the law. I think it is time for a reality check. You are no different than me or anyone else. Obey the law or pay the fine. Also hitting an officer with anything is considered assault in my book. That could end up being a felony. Grow up man and shut up and be a man. Pay the fine, apologize, and act like an adult!

     
    • Grow up and act like a MAN! You know what I mean??? It’s called an ADULT. Your not above the law. Funny how much time passed, but as soon as your ass is in trouble, you all of a sudden find the time. BULLSHIT!

       
      • Norm and his buddy Leone should stick with the ice cream business! Not government business!!! How can Leone make over 90k in a little town with less than 6,000 people? How did this happen? There are towns in Allegheny county larger than Monaca and their managers don’t make 90k!!! Look How bad Monaca looks, he’s not with it!

         
  2. Everybody needs to remember this when he runs for any political office . He has always thought he is above the law especially with his shenanigans at the Monaco SOI.Congratulations Rochester keep draining the swamp.

     
  3. he was treated just like everyone else ? bull, if you or I were stopped for running 2 stop signs, then attempted to open the car door (big no-no in a traffic stop) and got boisterous, we would be on the ground in cuff. car towed and impounded.

     
  4. Kudos to the police for staying calm under pressure. If he was not instructed to get out of the car or open the door why did he do so, that’s not normal protocol during a routine traffic stop, and striking an officer is another offense. If you or I (normal citizens) whip their door open and hit a cop not just once but twice, we’d be tazed or possibly shot.

     
  5. Whats really scary is that they continue to think they are above the Law. Even scarier is their ignorance of the Law. Hello people these are our Law makers!!!! Whats good for the goose is great for the Gander… How can anyone expect respect for the Law if our own Law makers arent following it. Way to lead by example there Ely… And Officer Mohrbacher my utmost respect to you for not being one of their puppets… At least someone knows the Law…beaver County at its best… WOW

     
  6. Rochester Twp shouldn’t have a police department to begin with, they were desperate enough to hire Picinnini. Lahue has always been a basket case. Lastly, what qualifies Ely to be a twp manager? One example of these small towns that need to re-evaluate their position. JP… you think county politics are bad. You need to dig into these local towns and school board, you’ll write for years.

     
    • Yep. He should start with Alighetto. Life time job security writing about the most corrupt town in Beaver County. Bar None!

       
    • Did you ever consider looking into what he’s done for Rochester Township??? Pretty sure you haven’t. Maybe you should and then make a comment. πŸ™‚

       
  7. Do not be surprised when the dust settles on this brewhaha that Patrolman Travis Mohrbacher will be out of a job.
    That is just how these corrupt fuckers work. Close ranks and protect each other at all costs!
    This fat fuck will be a perfect fit for Mowaco. Toilets on roofs, fist fighting council members, Connie the Con, etc., etc., etc……

     

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  8. I think the traffic stop could be over political matters. Though not necessarily. The letter of the law is ridiculous. Come to a compete stop….really. Unless the man totally blows the sign….let it go.

    The councilman striking the officer with his door? Was not right either. Nor was using his office to get out of the ticket or even attempt to….though nothing happened because the officer knew what he was doing was skirting the intent of the laws.

    Wonder how many times the officer does that? (Talking about stopping at each and every stop sign….completely) Each and every time? I freaking doubt it.

    The ticket for expired inspection however is valid if it was expired.

    Pay the damn fine and get it inspected.

    The officer needs to back off a bit and realize he is there to keep the peace…….not to exact revenge.

    Just a quick take on this….from a retire police officer from a big city where we did not have time for local political crap….

    This is so small town……

     
  9. Oh yes Monaca, this is definitely the man you want running your police force because that is what the Mayor does. He was probably hoping he would get elected Mayor of Monaca and would never have to have his inspection done because I can guarantee you he would throw his weight around in that department. Monaca police should campaign against having this garbage as their leader. I’m not buying his little innocent act either, He knew exactly what he was doing, has been getting away with it all of his life. Wake up Monaca you think the town looks bad now? Who do you think is behind that mess? Just let him get into office again. He and little Leone will cook up a big batch of bullshit for you to swallow.

     
    • And this guy is running for mayor of Monaca? Wake up Monaca, this guy will do nothing to improve your town. Don’t vote for him! Wasn’t he on council with Rossi and Calhoon a while ago? That started Monaca’s downfall!

       
      • Yes indeed Liar Liar. All three of those buffoons need put out of office. I have never seen a town take such a nose dive as happened under their leadership and I use the term leadership very loosely. Now Rossi is showing up at council meetings with Norm. Who exactly is driving Normie’s campaign? Might be worth asking our county Controller.

         
      • I believe he will do a lot for the town of Monaca. Just like I already replied to another comment above. Maybe you should look into what he’s down for Rochester Township and then run your mouth! πŸ™‚

         
      • @MYOFB – Then why don’t you “edumacate” us on his highnesses accomplishments?!
        BECAUSE YOU CAN’T! So, MYOFB!

         
  10. My car sat outside of my house for 2 days, without proper stickers, and I was given a ticket. How in the hell does he go for 4 months, and say he didn’t have the time ? Another fine representation of our local leaders.

     
  11. What a shame! And this guy is running for mayor, smdh! Monaca does not need norms head up marios ass! Mario makes 90 plus thousand a year and cant even come to work two days a week. The last thing monaca needs is these two ass clowns working together. Mario you should resign and focus on brusters and take norm with you!!

     
  12. Sticker shock. Assault on a police officer is a felony hitting him with any thing including a doughnut is punishable to 3 to 7 in the state pokey. Anybody else would b hearing trays up in the beaver county jail this morning.THIS IS WHERE THIS PERSON SHOULD B.

     
  13. Good for the officer not taking any bullshit. Ely behaves like a spoiled six year old.

     
  14. It is apparent Mr. Ely has the exact attitude that would meet the qualifications for a position in the courthouse.

     
  15. Wonder if he still works the door at the SOI. He use to call a MPD officer on cell and give them intel on who to stop for dope and or DUI.

     
      • Spray painted tires too so the police knew who to follow for a possible DUI. Yes oh yes let’s have him lead the Monaca police department. He’ll lead them right by the nose!

         
      • Its always been him. He’s also tried to become a member in other clubs so he can chalk tires and call in DUIs like he did at the SOI, but most clubs turned him away. He’s all about getting people he doesn’t like in trouble.

         
  16. All of you continue to elect people from the most corrupt, polictial towns in Beaver County…. Monaca and Center. Next election I will find out what town the person is from and will not be voting for anyone from Center, Monaca and add Aliquippa to the list.

     
  17. Best line in the article. “I’m a bigger guy”. No Shit! Dude, you are morbidly obese! And will be dead from fatty liver disease, a heart attack, or diabetes within 10 years.

     
  18. “I’m a bigger guy, I didn’t realize I did that, the door just popped open.”

    Apparently, this could be a work-related incident, possibly attributable to Bruster’s. But, that door defect is common among older Mini Coopers and VW Bugs.

     
  19. 4 months because ‘ I was busy”?????

    Somebody tell Ely that a lot of dealers have doughnuts in the waiting area for people getting their car serviced. Talk about motivation, eh Normie?

     
  20. Why make light of these actors in a potentially serious situation? Because when you have clowns like this in such a small town circus, they deserve no respect or serious consideration. They are scum. Blame the friends, families and duped voters who cannot do better and vote them in. Tough luck, Rochester, what did you expect for those loyalties?

     
  21. Deeeeejayyyyy spin the verb……one time….

    Ol’norm fucked up hour he handled the situation, but it’s no harm no foul, get your shit inspected. Move on Rochester twp is dump ground for degenerates. Fuck they got a little guy who’s Gun went missing and was used in a suicide by LAW enforcement I could go onand on. …. But fat boy fucked up, nothing too bad though, and for MONACA oh well you want a quitter,tat toe freak with big experience on anything, or somebody that knows a lot that can’t wash own ass?????

    As a community it’s no brainer what so hard to fathom, that’s all that wanted to run

     
  22. Rochester twp manager and wants to be mayor of Monaca? WTF is his legal mailing address??? Don’t most of these small towns have laws dictating residency requirements for local offices??? Hmmmmmm…….

     
    • Speaking of chairs Cammy Biggins, when Ely worked for the con in the Treasures office (as a part timer) she spent hundreds of our tax dollars for a special chair for him.

       
  23. Just who in the fuck does this asshole Ely think he is ? He is no different, or better than any other douchebag driving with expired stickers, give the fat fuck his citations and make the whiny bitch pay…good job officer.

     
  24. Whoever wrote this article needs a f*cking award. It was an absolute pleasure to read an article about police and citizens that was very objective. It stated the facts as they happened, cited good witnesses and story corroboration. And it compared findings to other similar situations. I wish everything was written in this fashion instead of the typical sensationalized, overly-subjective article that attempts to lead it’s reader by the nose. It’s so nice not to be intellectually insulted by a news story for once. Well played Beaver Countian. Well played.

     
  25. In My opinion and some facts have it this fat bastard used to mark tires while people drank at s.o.i. carding at the door while on council then would call the cops from his cell phone and tell them to arrest certain people for d.u.i.’s. Vote Suzanne Mammone for Mayor a resident for 50 years and no bullshit on her record !!!! Also, this prick is owner of Bruster’s in Hopewell with boro manager Monaca Mario @ 90 grand per year and don’t do shit he has destroyed this town no zoning officers nor meter maids! These 2 have totally ruined the facade of Monacas main streets. They look bad weeds every where. Doesn’t make the boro guys do shit!!!! Poor 80 year old Mrs. Polce trys to clean it up but Mario just laughs about it. Main street looks worse than any boros or town in the county! Great job assholes with Shell coming in!!!

     
  26. As the manager of a town and potentially holding political office in a neighboring town, this guy should KNOW he is under more scrutiny than others. 4 months for ANYONE is unacceptable, let alone a public figure. And to justify it as “being too busy”? Is this the type of leadership in a management position? That’s disappointing.

    It comes down to nothing more than arrogance–he knew he was behind, he didn’t care. And now is is trying to point fingers & justify himself on the backs of others.

    Grow up and be a man, and also be a leader. However, judging by the looks of him, he has other problems that are clearly out of control.

     
  27. Vote for Norm for Monaca Mayor. We use to chill in his hot tube at his house after 3am. Cool dude. Spin the bow tie.

     
  28. A lot of good comments we in monaca voted him off 5th ward councel we sure don’t want him as mayor as well as sending Mario back tohopewell but they threw him out years ago.

     
  29. whydidnt the beaver county times publish this in the paper? they don’t run much local news at all anymore. norm and his buddy Mario need to be gone from monaca altogether.Why would any police officer want this fatboy in charge of them?

     

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