Police: Frustrated Fairview Twp. homeowner fired gun near utility workers

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
James Lewis Mickel

A Fairview Township man is free on $250,000 bail, accused of pointing a gun at two utility workers subcontracting for PPL and shooting out a tire on their work truck.

No one was hurt, police said.

James Lewis Mickel, 50, of the 200 block of Spanglers Mill Road, remains free after posting $25,000 cash, or 10% of his total bail, according to court records.

He was arraigned at York County's central booking unit on Tuesday, July 16, and is charged with two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment, as well as one count of propulsion of missiles into an occupied vehicle and criminal mischief.

Fairview Township Police said they were called to the scene about 7:25 p.m. Monday, July 15, for a report of a man firing a gun at utility workers.

Officers could hear shots being fired as they got to the scene, according to police.

Once on scene, an officer spoke with Mickel by phone, as Mickel initially was in his house, police said, adding Mickel eventually came outside.

Broken drainpipes? Mickel expressed frustration with PPL electric workers because they have, in the past, driven over and broken his drainpipes, according to charging documents.

He told officers he initially yelled at the utility workers to leave his home, but they didn't listen to him, documents state.

Mickel told officers he then grabbed his Sig Sauer 9 mm from inside his home, came back out and fired several bullets into the ground while telling the workers they needed to leave, according to documents.

"As they were leaving, another confrontation occurred after the driver damaged (Mickel's) property," charging documents state. "Mickel then stated he shot 3 times into the tire of the utility truck to stop them from leaving."

Police didn't say how the utility-truck driver damaged Mickel's property.

The workers, identified in charging documents as C. Hertzler and I. Horn, are employees of I.B. Abel Inc. of Manchester Township, which is a subcontractor for PPL for service calls, documents state. The truck is owned by I.B. Abel, according to police.

Both Hertzler and Horn told officers that during the confrontation, Mickel pointed the gun into the cab of the truck where they were both sitting.

They also said they were in the truck when Mickel shot out one of its tires, "placing both in fear of serious bodily injury," charging documents state.

A phone number for Mickel was disconnected and he could not be reached for comment. It is unclear if he has retained an attorney.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.