Motorist who led police on wild chase scheduled in court
A Lehigh County man who took police on a wild chase that began in Palmerton and continued through Whitehall to the Pennsylvania Turnpike has been apprehended.
Mounzer Youssef Afif, 46, of Bethlehem, was scheduled to go before District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton this morning on one count each of fleeing or attempting to elude police officers, recklessly endangering another person, driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked, drivers required to be licensed, maximum speed limits, driving on roadways laned for traffic, reckless driving and resisting arrest.
Afif is currently incarcerated in Carbon County Prison in lieu of $50,000 straight bail.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Palmerton patrolman Robert Cohowicz:
At 1:23 a.m. March 5, Cohowicz was stationary in the 200 block of Delaware Avenue monitoring traffic when he heard a vehicle's engine revving loudly, according to the affidavit.
Cohowicz then observed a vehicle traveling west when he acquired a stationary vascar clock of 73 miles per hour using a premeasured distance of 0.0210 miles over a time period of 1.04 seconds, the affidavit says.
Cohowicz then pulled out and activated his emergency lights and siren and attempted to stop the vehicle, which he caught up to on the on ramp to SR248 east.
But the vehicle didn't stop at which time Cohowicz advised the Carbon Communications Center of the vehicle's description and registration plate.
Cohowicz continued to attempt to stop the vehicle, which was a Blue Chevrolet pick up truck bearing PA Reg. Y2J6518.
The vehicle continued onto SR145 into Lehigh County. While behind the vehicle Cohowicz said it crossed the double yellow line to pass another vehicle. As Afif did this his vehicle came within inches of crashing head-on with an oncoming vehicle.
Several times while Cohowicz was chasing the vehicle Cohowicz's vehicle was in excess of 125 miles per hour.
Eventually, the vehicle entered Whitehall Township on SR145. Officer George J. Hummel of South Whitehall Township was able to deploy spike strips as the vehicle entered SR22.
The vehicle hit the spike strips and all four tires were blown. The vehicle continued onto SR22 west and then to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Exit where it caught fire and went off the roadway.
Afif exited the cruiser and fell to the ground. He then resisted several officers attempts to take him into custody.
Afif was then transported back to the Palmerton police, at which time Cohowicz ran his license plate through the communicatons center. The license was suspended with no reason given, and expired.