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Lehigh man who led police on high-speed chase given jail time

Published March 29. 2018 12:33PM

A Lehigh County man, who led police on a high-speed chase throughout several jurisdictions and that ended in a crash seriously injuring himself and others, was sentenced to a county prison term on Tuesday in Carbon County court.

Benjamin Jay Aponte Jr., 30, of Allentown, was sentenced to serve a total of six to one day less 24 months in prison followed by one year of probation.

Aponte previously pleaded guilty to three counts of fleeing or attempting to elude police (all felonies) and one count each of DUI, recklessly endangering another person and driving under suspension — DUI related.

He was arrested for an incident on Aug. 13, 2017, that began in Franklin Township when township police attempted to stop him after observing him driving erratically on a motorcycle at the intersection of Routes 209 and 248. He fled at a high rate of speed southbound on 248.

Township police broke off the chase due to the speeds making it a dangerous pursuit.

The county communications center notified Palmerton police of the chase with Franklin. Borough police observed Aponte’s motorcycle headed in their direction but he refused to stop. Palmerton police then pursued him to the intersection of Routes 248 and 873, where Aponte attempted to turn onto 873. He lost control of the bike and crashed into a van, injuring people in the van.

Also on the same date he was observed by park rangers at Beltzville State Park failing to stop for a stop sign. Rangers pursued him for a time but broke off the chase because of the high speeds and dangerous conditions.

Aponte, who sustained serious injuries, claimed he could not remember the incidents due to a head injury he suffered in the crash.

Nanovic told him, “You endangered other people. The only reason you stopped was because you crashed.”

Nanovic added, “You showed total disrespect for law enforcement.”

Aponte read a prepared statement apologizing for his actions and saying, “I take full responsibility for what I did. I’m ready for my punishment.”

In addition to the jail term, Aponte was ordered to pay total fines of $4,500, license suspension of at least three years, court costs of about $1,000 and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on parole and probation.

He will begin the jail term at 7 p.m. on April 2. He was granted work-release privileges.

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