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Police chase leads to charges for Lehighton man

Published June 07. 2018 12:33PM

A Lehighton man allegedly led police on a chase while driving with a suspended license, in a vehicle he did not have permission to use.

Martin William Stofanak Jr., 29, of Second Street, is accused of fleeing police in Bethlehem Township the evening of May 31.

According to Bethlehem Township Police, drivers reported a purple Dodge Durango truck driving erratically. The driver of the truck, a white man with facial hair wearing a black T-shirt, was seen doing doughnuts in the roadway and striking a yard sign.

Two officers, who were waiting in their cruiser at the intersection of St. Luke’s Boulevard and Freemansburg Avenue, saw a vehicle matching the description pass them.

They activated lights and sirens, but the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed.

After quickly losing track of the speeding vehicle, the officers checked a nearby shopping center to see if the driver hid there. Shortly after, they received word that the Dodge Dakota had crashed into a utility pole on Freemansburg Avenue near the intersection with Farmersville Road.

Witnesses later said they saw the vehicle cross the center double-yellow line to pass vehicles.

Three drivers had to take evasive action as the driver crossed Freemansburg Avenue, with one of them nearly being struck head-on.

The driver and a passenger, identified as a white man in his 20s with no facial hair, fled the vehicle before police arrived.

Police traced the vehicle to Mark V. Sampson. He said that Stofanak, his daughter’s boyfriend, had taken the vehicle without his permission.

A Pennsylvania driver’s license for Stofanak was found in the center console of the vehicle.

Stofanak was taken into custody on Monday and released on $1,000 bail.

He is facing charges including fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and reckless endangerment.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for July 16.

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