Man who attacked police chief, jumped in river, waives hearing
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Luke S. Zetts, 18, of Weissport, is led from the office of District Judge Edward Lewis in Jim Thorpe after waiving his preliminary hearing yesterday. Behind him is Lehighton Chief of Police Neal Ebbert, who Zetts attempted to choke in an escape attempt from police.
A Weissport man who desperately tried to escape from police by allegedly assaulting the Lehighton Chief of Police, and then jumping into the Lehigh River while wearing handcuffs, will face the charges in Carbon County Court.
Luke S. Zetts, 18, of Weissport, yesterday waived a hearing that had been scheduled before District Judge Edward M. Lewis of Jim Thorpe.
Zetts had reportedly been wanted on a warrant from the U.S. Marines for being AWOL when apprehended by Lehighton police at about 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 1
After being cuffed by police, Zetts allegedly managed to bring his hands to the front of him. While in the parking lot area of the Lehighton police station, Zetts then reportedly got behind Chief of Police Neal Ebbert and placed his hands around his neck.
After the two fell to the ground, Zetts allegedly fled on foot while still handcuffed and ran to the Lehigh River where he jumped into the water.
More than an hour and a half after the incident happened, Zetts was apprehended in the river.
Individuals charged with committing crimes have the right to have a hearing or skip the hearing and have the charges forwarded to county court.
Zetts remains held in Carbon County Correctional Facility in lieu of $75,000 bail.
He has been charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, escape, and resisting arrest.
The arresting police officer, Brian H. Biechy of the Lehighton Police Department, says in the affidavit that Zetts was taken into custody "on a deserter/absentee wanted by the armed forces warrant."
When he fled on foot, police from several municipalities, as well as state police from Lehighton barracks, gave pursuit.
The affidavit said that Zetts swam "side to side of the Lehigh River including floating down the middle of the river to avoid capture." All the while, Zetts had hand cuffs on him.
He eventually exited the river and was taken into custody by police.
Biechy states in the affidavit that Zetts "admitted to leaving the military due to depression and suicidal thoughts."
In addition, Zetts told Biechy that "while he was in custody he started to freak out and just wanted to run."
His charges have been forwarded to Carbon County Court where a pretrial conference is scheduled for Nov. 15.
After the Carbon County Court matters are addressed, Zetts could face additional action from the Marines.