Man Accused of Damaging Wells
Waives Preliminary Hearing

A student from Arizona charged with vandalizing three gas and oil wells in the Allegheny National Forest has waived his preliminary hearing.

21-year-old Jeffrey Branham of Prescott had been working to clear a trail with others from the Student Conservation Association when some members of the group heard a loud boom, and then saw Branham and another worker run toward them covered in oil.

Police say Branham admitted to breaking off pressure gauges at three wells owned by Howard Drilling off forestry road 261, just west of Route 321 in Hamilton Township, McKean County.

About one barrel of oil – or 42 gallons – spewed into the ground and onto nearby trees. He’s is charged with criminal mischief and risking a catastrophe and is free on $50,000 bail.

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