Paul Hostinsky, “Drunk & Dis Cond, Resisting”, 26 December 1958

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Just after dark on the day after Christmas, 1958, the owner of the New Life Lunch on East Washington street called to a passing beat policeman that he needed help with an abusive customer. Paul Hostinsky had been drinking all afternoon and had caused a disruption when he was refused any more liquor. Officer Cubellis told Paul to get in a cab and leave. Paul kicked him in the balls. There was a scuffle. Paul ended up in jail with stitches in his scalp—the police reported that he had fallen while getting out of the patrol car at headquarters—and Officer Cubellis was signed off for a few days with pain in his groin.

Paul’s father—Paul Sr—died at the age of twenty-eight, when Paul was five. He and Paul’s mother had been separated for some time, and he was living in Donora, working in the zinc mill and occasionally getting in trouble with the police. Around 8 o’clock on a summer evening in 1930, police in Monessen, south of Pittsburgh, received a call that a drunk was causing a disturbance behind the Page plant. The man—Paul’s father—had removed his shirt and waded into the Monongahela river. He refused to go with the police when they called him. He shouted that he was a fighting marine (he had served in Europe in the first world war), that he was on government property and that if they wanted him they would have to come and get him. A lieutenant tried to grab him but he threw him into the river and waded out further until, suddenly, he dropped beneath the surface of the water and vanished.

The police waited on the bank. They were used to dealing with Paul Sr when he was drunk, and this would not be the first time he had tried to escape them by swimming across the river. But he stayed under. Searchers with grappling hooks pulled the body from the river the next morning. It was already black and swollen. The burial took place that afternoon.

Like his father, Paul Jr was arrested on drunk and disorderly charges every so often throughout his twenties, following his return home from the army. By 1975, when he was arrested for brawling in a YMCA, he was living in Erie. He died in West Virginia in 2003, at the age of seventy-eight.

Sources: Beaver County Times, 27 December 1948, “Twelve Ambridge Men Are Inducted”; Lebanon Daily News, 12 Sep 1975, “3 Men In Melee Are Charged”; Monessen Daily Independent (7 July 1930, “Man Jumps Into River To Escape From Police”; 8 July 1930, “Recover Body Of Man Who Jumped Into River”); New Castle News (21 Nov 1958, “Two Arrested, Fined Today”; 27 Dec 1958, “Man Is Jailed After Scuffle”; 1 April 1961, “Man Beaten”; 4 June 1962, “Albert T Hupko Dies At Home”; 6 Sep 1972, “Deaths Of The Day”).

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