2011 - The Year in Action News pictures

December 26, 2011


The Kermit Gosnell Case:
A Philadelphia doctor, Kermit Gosnell, was charged with killing 7 babies and a woman who died after a botched abortion at his Women's Medical Center. Photos released by authorities showing all the suspects and the scene were the top Photo Gallery on 6abc.com for the month of January 2011. While some in the case have pleaded guilty, the former doctor is still making headlines and was hit with drug charges in December. Read more about the Kermit Gosnell case

Car Rams Packed NJ Bar
When 2011 wasn't even a week old, a night on the town turned deadly in New Jersey when a car slammed into a packed bar in Somers Point. Photos and the victims of the scene

Tacony Natural Gas Explosion:
On January 18, a natural gas explosion ripped a corner of Philadelphia's Tacony section apart. The view of the scene from Chopper 6 and fiery debris sent in by Action News viewers drew visitors for weeks to follow.

Massive Apartment Building Fire
Flames hit an apartment building at 48th and Walnut in West Philadelphia in mid January. It caused a pair of nearby schools to close down.

5-Alarm fire at Philadelphia School:
Just a few days later, Philadelphia firefighters were pressed into duty again, when flames hit a school in Philadelphia's Parkside section, the blaze climbed to 5 alarms and destroyed the Global Leadership Academy Charter School.


3 Dead when car crashes into NJ school:
Students Matthew Budesa, Kim VanGorden and Matthew Witzgall all died when their car crashed into the Pine Beach Elementary School in Pine Beach, N.J. The impact left the car standing upright on its front-end with a large hole left in the school.

Spring 'Dancing with the Stars' Rumor Mill:
One of ABC's hit reality shows, "Dancing with the Stars," was just weeks from returning in February 2011. The rumor mills started churning out names of celebrities that were lining up to be in the cast.

2 Women dead in suspected DUI:
A very early morning crash in the Somerton section of Philadelphia devastated the SUV in which they were riding and left the two of them dead.

Wing Bowl 19:
The annual extravaganza of gluttony that is Wing Bowl really needs few words. 6abc.com viewers were very happy to check out the pictures. But there were shades of things to come for 2012, as world eating phenom Kobayashi downed and entire cheesesteak in 24 seconds. Shortly after, Kobayashi announced that he plans to compete in Wing Bowl 20.

Corsons Inlet Bridge crash:
People wanted to see for themselves the damage after a car skidded off a bridge over Cosrons Inlet in New Jersey. A brother and sister who plunged into the frigid water managed to get themselves to shore and suffered only minor injuries.

MARCH 2011

Suspended Phila. priests named:
As reverberations of child sex abuse in the Catholic church continued, the Philadelphia Archdiocese released the names of priests who were suspended following a scathing report by a grand jury investigating child molestation claims.

Crash Obliterates car, kills driver:
Wreckage littered part of Northeast Philadelphia after a driver's car slammed into a tree along Haldeman Avenue. The 28-year-old driver did not survive.

Erin O'Hearn welcomes 2nd baby:
Also in March, Action News reporter Erin O'Hearn and her husband, Sal, announced the birth of their second child. Action News viewers clicked away to get a look at their little boy named Sebastian Salvator Paone.

Mega Millions Winners: come forward:
Everyone dreams of hitting it big in the lottery. It happened for some Mega Millions players in New York, and Action News viewers went online to get a look at the people who would split the $319 million jackpot.

Quake damage in Japan:
At the end of the month, one of the worst natural disasters ever recorded hit the island nation of Japan in the form of an off-shore earthquake and giant tsunami devastated cities, farmlands and a pair of nuclear power plants. The world checked back on the devastation and the recovery efforts for weeks.

APRIL 2011

The Royal Wedding:
They eyes of the world were cast on London in April for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Action News' own Alicia Vitarelli hopped on a plane and filed dozens of reports with a Philly flair regarding the Royal Wedding. The ceremony also generated a lot of internet interest in Kate Middleton's sister Pippa Middleton.

Car crushed between trucks in Camden:
A driver did not survive a grinding crash when his car was crushed between a pair of trucks in Camden County.

Steroid Bust:
Three Philadelphia Police officers and a dozen others were charged for alleged connections to an anabolic steroid and human growth hormone (HGH) distribution organization in Philadelphia and throughout the United States.

Wedding gowns of Action News brides:
While everyone had Royal Wedding fever, some of the folks at Action News were feeling a little nostalgic and shared photos from their weddings.

MAY 2011

ABC cancels shows:
They can't all stick around forever. viewers wanted to see which programs were going away when ABC canceled 7 shows in May.

Search for Sarah Townsend:
Sarah Townsend went missing in May and for months people were holding out hope she would be found alive. Her body was discovered in July.

Philly family prepares for judgment day:
Dire concerns that the end of the world is near weren't kept just for the Mayan prophecies of 2012. A family in Philadelphia prepared for the apocalypse they expected on May 21, 2011. Then May 22nd came.

Tornado hits Northeast Philadelphia:
Severe weather hits Philadelphia every year. But, when you have a weekend filled with lightning, hail and a tornado in the City of Brotherly Love, people will want to see the pictures.

Murder of Sklyer Kauffman:
The killing of a 9-year-old girl, Skyler Kauffman gripped the region for several weeks in May. A 24-year-old neighbor, James Troutman, is charged with kidnapping and assaulting her.

JUNE 2011

Jackass Star Ryan Dunn killed:
When local man Ryan Dunn, who gained a cult following as a member of the "Jackass" cast on television and in movies, was killed in a car accident, the scene became a memorial, both in West Goshen Township and online where people came to see what happened and pay their respects.

Suspects and evidence in Pa drug bust:
More than two dozen people were arrested in an operation spanning three counties in Pennsylvania. Photos of the suspects, some of their weapons and the evidence in the drug case generated a large amount of interest.

Deadly Ferris Wheel accident at the Jersey Shore:
A 12-year-old girl fell to her death during a school field trip to Morey's Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey. The family has filed a lawsuit.

Casey Anthony Murder Trial:
Years of headlines came to a climax in June 2011, when there was a verdict in the Casey Anthony Murder trial for the death of her daughter Caylee. Anthony was found not guilty.

15-year-old behind wheel in deadly crash:
One person died and seven others were hurt when an underage Philadelphia boy triggered a deadly 3-car crash while taking his mother's car for a joy ride, according to police.

JULY 2011

Jamie Apody's Wedding:
It's hard to not want to look at a wedding, and Action News fans certainly spent a lot of time and sent a lot of well wishes to sportscaster Jamie Apody for her wedding.

16-year-old marries 51-year-old:
Plenty of headlines were made when 51-year-old Doug Hutchison married 16-year-old Courtney Stodden. Although their wedding was in May, the photos (and their 35 year age difference) set 6abc.com ablaze in July.

Storm causes major damage:
Sometimes you can see storms coming on radar, and sometimes they pop up suddenly. A storm that whipped up one Sunday in New Jersey, left lots of damage in Ocean City and several other Jersey Shore towns.

2 ejected in NE Extension Crash:
Police say speeding and erratic driving triggered a crash that sent 2 people flying from a Jeep on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Despite not wearing their seatbelts and landing on the highway, both the driver and his passenger survived.

Car crashes into crane in Delaware:
A driver did not survive after ramming into a construction crane near the Christiana Mall .


Hurricane Irene Local Impact:
While Hurricane Irene didn't strike a direct blow on the region, but even so, the water rose fast and flooding wiped out many streets throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware

Storms also caused massive power outages and damage at another point in August, including this storm that knocked out power to thousands in Delaware.

Dancing with the Stars
With the start of the Fall TV season just around the corner, The "Dancing with the Stars" cast couplings were revealed.

Tanker truck crushes SUV:
In a battle between a tanker truck and an SUV, the tanker is going to come out the winner. But along Route 295 in Gloucester County, five people won their fight for survival after a tanker crushed their SUV. All of them survived.


September Flooding :
2011 would eventually go down in the history books as the wettest year recorded for the Philadelphia region. Massive rain storms that soaked the region and caused some epic flooding are just one of the reasons why.

Raid at Philadelphia Boeing plant:
Federal officials swooped in to the Ridley Park Boeing plant as part of a raid for illegal drug trafficking. They charged more than three dozen people with distributing or trying to get prescription drugs, among them powerful painkillers.

Fatal Crash on NE Extension:
Stopping along one of the region's busy highways is always dangerous, no matter what the reason or your intentions. This crash between a big rig and 2 cars illustrates that along the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

2011 Naked Bike Ride:
Every year, hundreds of people take off their clothes and pedal their way through the streets of Philadelphia on their bicycles. You can decide if they do it often enough.


Sarah Bloomquist welcomes baby girl:
When it comes to going for the cute factor, it's tough top a new baby. Action News' Sarah Bloomquist welcomed daughter Andrea Elizabeth and 6abc.com viewers wanted to get a peek.

Extreme Makeover home for sale:
The folks at ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" often do some very amazing things when they put together homes. Unfortunately, sometimes the circumstances end up that families can't stay in their "Extreme Makeover" homes, as was the case for a family from Middletown, Pa.

Prostitution Raid at Mummers club:
There was a prostitution raid at a Mummers club in October. When police made the announcement, people wanted to check out the photos of the suspects and the scene.

Tacony Dungeon Case:
In a case that grabbed headlines across the nation, a Philadelphia woman was accused of holding people in a dungeon in her home to collect their government assistance checks. As more information was released, people just had to look at the evidence and suspects in what would become known in some circles as the 'Tacony Dungeon' case.

Cecily Tynan & Alicia Vitarelli hit the catwalk:
Action News meteorologist Cecily Tynan and Action News at 4pm anchor Alicia Vitarelli were on hand for the 13th annual "Girls Night Out" fashion show and auction in Media, Pa. on October 10th, 2011. The event raises money to benefit breast cancer patients and research.

Fire at Animal Kingdom park in N.J.
Giraffes, dogs and cats all perished during a fire at the Animal Kingdom Zoo in Springfield Township, N.J.


Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case at Penn State University
Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was accused of molesting several children; some of them on the Penn State campus. As the events swelled over Penn State, they swallowed up the careers of head coach Joe Paterno and several Penn State administrators. Students protested and rioted in the streets of State College, Pa. . This story will continue to make headlines as we make our way through 2012.

Multi-Vehicle Crash on Schuylkill Expressway :
When cars collide, people take notice. When 4 cars collide in a deadly accident along the Schuylkill Expressway, people checked out the photos from Chopper 6.

FBI raids Burlington home:
Usually, when federal agents and police surround a home it makes newscasts and the details come out later. But during, and even after, this raid of a home in Burlington, N.J., there was very little information made available.

$500,000 found in Jeep:
Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people face traffic stops in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware every day. But on this particular day, the driver ran off and investigators later discovered why: Police found half a million dollars of cash stashed in a secret compartment.

Dancing with the Stars:
The season came to an end, and J.R. Martinez ended up the champion of the latest "Dancing with the Stars" season.

Starved Dogs:
Starved animals that were found wandering the streets of Delaware County made a lot of headlines as the holiday season approached.

6abc Thanksgiving Day parade:
Photos from the 6abc Thanksgiving Day Parade generated a lot of page views for 6abc.com, and not just from people in the region. We heard from a great many people who have moved away, but liked checking in on an old hometown tradition.


Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating People:
Barbara Walters list of Most Fascinating people always attracts a lot of attention, whether you agree with her choices or not.

Abandoned puppies in Chester:
A litter of abandoned puppies in Chester pulled heartstrings as people clamored to find out details about how to adopt them.

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant in happier times:
L.A. Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa filed for divorce in December 2011.

First Photos of Baby Noel:
As the year wound down, a baby was discovered in a box by a passerby along a Philadelphia street. As police looked for answers anywhere they could find them, investigators released the first photos of the abandoned baby who would be named "Noel" by the nurses at St. Christopher's who were taking care of her.