Stabber still loose
Rush Township and state police have compiled this digital rendering of a hitchhiker on the loose who stabbed a driver in Hometown.
The hunt for a knife-wielding hitchhiker is still going on after an incident Sunday night in Hometown that resulted in a Tamaqua man being stabbed in the neck.
Rush Township Police Sgt. Duane Frederick said that Joseph Connell from Tamaqua was driving north on SR309 near the All American Jeep dealership in Tamaqua when he spotted a hitchhiker and pulled over to give the man a ride. A short distance later, he pulled into the entrance of the Wal-Mart plaza parking lot on Tide Road in Hometown.
Frederick added that the hitchhiker told Connell he wanted to go farther north on SR309. When Connell said he was unable to, the hitchhiker pulled out a knife and stabbed Connell in the neck.
The hitchhiker then exited the vehicle and fled on foot in an unknown direction.
A PennStar helicopter landed alongside the Hometown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to transport Connell to St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill. Emergency responders said they had to restart Connell's heart multiple times before placing him into the helicopter.
Numerous police, including a state police helicopter out of Hazleton and search dogs, took part in the massive manhunt for the hitchhiker.
Frederick, who talked to the victim on the phone late Sunday night, reported he was in stable condition. Family members on Facebook said the stab wound just missed an artery.
Police, who are still studying video from a business and police cameras in Tamaqua and Hometown, describe the hitchhiker as a white male, five-foot seven inches to five-foot 10 inches tall, with a tan complexion, mustache, goatee, dark brown or black hair, brown eyes and wearing blue jeans and a blue shirt.
Police are asking the public to be alert and to call 911 immediately if they see or recall having seen a man fitting the description.