January 3, 2019

From Tyler Kolesar, TheProgressNews.com

At yesterday’s Centralized Court at the Clearfield County Jail, Frank M. Ferguson, 48, of Altoona, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in front of District Judge Jerome Nevling.

Ferguson allegedly shot a member of his hunting party during bear season in Cooper Township in November. He has been charged by North Central division of the state Game Commission with shoot at/kill/injure a human while hunting — a misdemeanor of the second degree; and unlawful shooting on/across highway — a summary offense of the fourth degree.

According to the criminal complaint, on Saturday, Nov. 17 around 7 a.m., two game commission wardens were patrolling the area for the opening day of bear season at the intersection of state Route 53 and Cooper Township Road within Cooper Township alongside a large unharvested corn field.

As the wardens rounded the turn toward the back side of the corn field heading toward the direction of Grassflat, it was apparent that an organized bear chase or drive was being conducted with hunters standing on the roadway along with multiple vehicles parked at the location. As the wardens left their vehicle to conduct field compliance checks, the wardens were “frantically approached” by one of the leaders of the hunting group, Samuel Pryle, who was on the phone with Clearfield County Emergency Services and told wardens that fellow hunter Stephen Franek Jr. had been shot.

Franek Jr. was standing beside the cornfield about 164 yards away from Cooper Township Road in a narrow, mowed strip that was about five yards wide between the cornfield and a small neighboring wood lot. It was also determined he was shot in the leg above the knee about 164 yards away with a Remington 30-06 rifle.

Officials state the injuries sustained by the victim were a result of Ferguson carelessly shooting on or across the roadway and not identifying what was behind his target.

Formal arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 23 at 1:30 p.m. and bail was set at $5,000 unsecured.


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