Police: Motorist on drugs takes cops on 3-county chase
MONTGOMERY — A 37-year-old motorist has been locked up on 21 charges following a lengthy high-speed pursuit that spanned three counties and resulted in at least two cruisers being damaged, according to borough Patrolman Eric Winters.
During the 26-mile chase, Joseph James Little intentionally drove his 2005 Hyundai directly at an officer who had just completed putting down spike strips on Elimsport Road in an attempt to flatten the tires on Little’s car, Winters alleged.
As Little approached, the officer ran to the side of the road, but Little “swerved toward the officer, nearly striking him. The officer had to leap out of the way to avoid getting hit,” Winters wrote in an affidavit.
The incident began in the borough when Winters saw Little’s car fail to stop for a stop sign at Second and Broad streets about 2:20 a.m. on Sept. 30.
As Winters began to pursue him, Little’s car suddenly accelerated in excess of 60 mph. As he traveled on Route 405 into Northumberland County, Little’s car reached speeds of 102 mph, Winter said.
The chase continued on Route 44 into Union County and then north on Route 15 back into Lycoming County, where Little drove in an erratic manner, traveling in the wrong lane as he turned onto Cemetery Hill Road in Clinton Township.
In the area of Houston Avenue, a Muncy police officer who had joined in the pursuit was forced off the road to avoid a head-on collision with the Hyundai, Winters said.
Although police had set up a roadblock at routes 15 and 54, Little, of 63 Warren St., managed to elude capture, but not before he damaged Winter’s cruiser after the officer pulled in behind him.
Little suddenly put his car in reverse, striking the police car. He then drove forward over the median and out onto Elimsport Road, where he nearly struck the officer who had been putting out stop sticks in the middle of the road, Winters said.
Little, who is on state parole, returned to Route 15, heading north toward the city. In the area of the Little League Headquarters, Little’s tires were flattened by anther set of stop sticks, but he kept driving on East Mountain Avenue, where “the tires came completely off the vehicle,” Winters said.
Little drove on the rims as he tore up a soccer field at the borough’s park complex before crashing into a state police cruiser, Winters said. Little made a dash for it, but he was quickly captured, Winters said, adding that he became combative, injuring two state troopers.
Little told police that he had “been drinking, and took an unknown pill at a bar before driving. He also admitted to using crack cocaine,” Winters said in the affidavit.
Automatically jailed in the Lycoming County Prison on parole violation, Little was arraigned last week before District Judge Jon E. Kemp on multiple counts of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering, two counts of causing or risking a catastrophe and one count each of driving under the influence of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and giving police a false identification.
Kemp returned him prison after denying him bail.