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Man allegedly driving 130 mph on Pa. Turnpike waives hearing

Published August 18. 2010 05:00PM

A Scranton man allegedly traveling 130 miles-per-hour on the Northeast Extension of the turnpike while driving on a suspended license has waived a hearing on the charges.

Also waived was the hearing for a Philadelphia man, clocked at 96 miles per hour on a motorcycle.

Both were arrests of Trooper Joseph Splendido of the Pocono barracks of the state police. The hearings had been scheduled before District Judge Edward Lewis of Jim Thorpe.

Daniel B. Sutton, 43, allegedly tried to outrun Trooper Splendido with his vehicle and then tried to outrun him on foot.

The incident began at about 3:31 p.m. on May 3.

Splendido said in the affidavit that he observed a green Lexus driving on the turnpike. He wrote, "As I was passing the vehicle, I noticed heavy window tint on the backseat passenger's side rear window, a red cherry paper material hanging from the rear view mirror, and no driver's side mirror."

He said when he attempted to perform a traffic stop the operator initially pulled over, then sped away. He said the speed had ensued to 130 miles-per-hour, which is twice the turnpike speed limit.

According to the affidavit the driver then pulled over, exited the vehicle, and leaped over a wire fence. A foot race ensued.

"I chased the subject and he was apprehended approximately two hours after the incident," said Splendido in his affidavit.

Sutton has been charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked, windshield obstructions, and maximum speed limits.

Motorcyclist flees

David M. Leary, 27, of Philadelphia, was involved in an incident on June 6 at 7:56 p.m. during which he allegedly was clocked on his motorcycle traveling at 96 miles-per-hour.

He was riding next to Chase Edwards, who eventually crashed the cycle. When approached by police Leary allegedly told Splendido he was unaware that Splendido was trying to stop them.

Leary has been charged with fleeing or attempting to elude police officer, reckless driving, driving on roadways laned for traffic, turning movements and required signals, maximum speed limits, and operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic.

The trooper says that on June 6 he was utilizing a radar unit when two motorcycles went through the zone, both clocked at 96 mph. He said he activated his emergency lights and siren and tried to initiate a traffic stop. He wrote in the affidavit, "I got directly behind the motorcycles with my emergency lights and siren. At that time there was a tractor-trailer in the left lane of travel and an SUV in the right lane of travel. As I was directly behind the two motorcycles the motorcycles traveled in between the tractor-trailer and the SUV and passed the vehicles on the center dotted line." After passing the vehicles the motorcycles accelerated and were weaving in and out of traffic passing vehicles without using an appropriate signal.

Splendido said as he approached a spot two miles up the highway, he observed a male lying on his back on the shoulder of the roadway next to a guide rail. There was another male standing on the shoulder of the roadway. There also were two motorcycles on the side of the road.

The trooper said he recognized the vehicles as the two which were being pursued. It was Edwards lying along the roadway while Leary was tending to him.

Other cases waived

In other cases which had been scheduled before Lewis:

• Gerald Smith, 55, of Jim Thorpe, waived charges of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, the substance being heroin. The arrest of Smith had occurred on Aug. 15, 2009, in the 100 block of North First Street, Lehighton.

• Russell E. Austin, 31, of Jim Thorpe, waived a hearing on driving while under the influence (DUI). He was charged during a DUI checkpoint on May 29 in the 100 block of Sgt. Stanley Hoffman Boulevard in Lehighton.

• James L. Dennis, 25, of Lehighton, was charged with escape following an incident on June 17 on West Broadway in Jim Thorpe. He waived a hearing.

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