WELLSVILLE - What began with a call to the Wellsville Fire Department for a vehicle fire has turned into a police investigation of an assault and suspected drug activity.
Firefighters were called to the home of Josh Hackney and Jodi Long at 305 18th St., at 5:21 a.m. on Christmas Day. Upon arrival, they found a 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer parked in the driveway engulfed in flames. The fire was brought under control before it could spread to the house, but a pair of nearby trees were scorched.
Although the fire was out by 6:30 a.m., an accusation that it had been deliberately set would lead to a spasm of violence at another Wellsville residence.
Wellsville Police were dispatched to Lincoln Avenue home of Roxanna Corbisello at 3:55 p.m. for an assault. According to the police report, officers found Corbisello's son, R.D. McCauley, beaten and lying on the floor inside the house. McCauley told police he had been to the home of Hackney and Long, where he was met by Daryl and Joe Blake. The Blake brothers accused him of stealing their drugs and setting fire to their Trailblazer, prompting them to assault him.
McCauley alleged that Hackney told the Blake brothers that McCauley had burned their vehicle and stolen the missing drugs. In turn, McCauley blamed Hackney for the theft and fire.
Officers went to the home of Hackney and Long, and spoke to Long. She told police she didn't know where the Blake brothers were, but also admitted they had told her to tell anyone asking about them that she didn't know their whereabouts. Although what actually transpired in still under investigation, Wellsville Police Lt. Ed Wilson said Hackney's neighbors on 18th Street suspect that drug transactions have been taking place at the residence.
Citing concerns about the couple's children in relation to the fire, violence and drugs, police contacted Columbiana County Jobs and Family Services. Wilson said it is unknown if the children were removed from the home.