Fleeing suspect shot by police
A high-speed chase in Schuylkill County Monday afternoon ended with the suspect being shot by police.
State police at Frackville said the suspect, a white male in his 60s, was flown by LifeFlight helicopter to the Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, where he was admitted in critical condition. Troopers declined to name the suspect or who shot him a local police officer or a state trooper.
The shooting occurred in Mahanoy Township.
Troopers said the incident began about 2:35 p.m. when Saint Clair police were dispatched to the Wal-Mart store, located along SR61 in the borough, for a possible retail theft that was going to occur.
Borough police were alerted by construction workers in the parking lot of the store of an erratic driver who went through the lot and turned right to go north on 61.
As Saint Clair police were approaching the area of Interstate 81 near Frackville, a passer-by told them that a sport utility vehicle (SUV), later determined to be a Ford Explorer, had entered the interstate northbound.
A trooper was sitting at mile marker 126 northbound when the SUV went by. A pursuit began after the trooper verified the registration plate on the SUV.
The pursuit continued north until the suspect's vehicle exited at SR54 to go eastbound. As the pursuit went into Barnesville the driver turned around and began traveling westbound on 54 back toward the interstate.
Somewhere around the intersection of SR54 and I-81, troopers said, another trooper deployed spike strips on the road to stop the fleeing SUV. At this point the suspect stopped briefly. As police were approaching the SUV, the driver backed into one of two police cruisers, then sped away, almost hitting a trooper.
Troopers said the suspect then continued westbound on 54 and turned left onto T853, commonly known as the White Owl Drive in Mahanoy Township, which leads into the borough of Mahanoy City.
The suspect then lost control of his vehicle, which went off the left side of the road. Troopers said the SUV ended up "perpendicular" to the roadway. As police approached the vehicle the suspect was gunning the engine trying to get out of the ditch it was in. The suspect was then shot by one of the officers.
After the shooting the road was shut down with the help of local fire police while troopers investigated the scene. Lighting was later brought in by Mahanoy City fire companies to help police in their investigation.
Troopers said the suspect faces numerous charges including aggravated assault, fleeing and eluding, recklessly endangering another person, and related counts. Troopers noted the entire incident lasted about 18 minutes.
Assisting troopers were police from Frackville, Saint Clair, Mahanoy Township, Mahanoy City, Rush Township, and Tamaqua. Also on scene were personnel from the district attorney's office.