A handcuffed female prisoner managed to take possession of a state police cruiser on Interstate 180 in the city and drive it a short distance to the area of Washington Boulevard and Shiffler Ave., where it crashed into a tree after it was rammed from behind by another cruiser that was pursuing it, state police said.
Janica Renee Germello, 25, of State College, was determined not to go to jail, but that is where she landed after she was arraigned Saturday night on more than a dozen charges, including fleeing police, recklessly driving and theft of a motor vehicle.
She also faces drug charges after police recovered 10 bags of suspected heroin from her purse.
Right from the start, Germello was unruly and disorderly when two state troopers took her into custody on outstanding arrest warrants near Market Street and Little League Boulevard in the city about 1:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.
The woman "flailed her head, arms and legs" continuously as she desperately tried to break free from the grip of two troopers, according to an affidavit.
"During this time, Germello repeatedly said she did not want to go to jail," a trooper wrote in an affidavit.
Germello was handcuffed behind her back and placed in the front passenger seat of a cruiser. The two troopers involved, one undercover and the other in patrol, had arrived at Little League Boulevard in separate cars.
Because of Germello's combative actions, the troopers were going to take her right to the state police barracks to file an additional charge of resisting arrest, police said. One trooper would follow the other back to the barracks in Montoursville.
However, things began deteriorating once the troopers pulled onto Market Street.
Germello "began reaching up from behind her back toward the door lock on the passenger door in an attempt to unlock it," the affidavit states.
The woman became more unruly in the seat, forcing the trooper to put her "in a headlock position" as he was driving onto Interstate 180 from the Market Street bridge, police said.
The trooper decided to pull over onto the berm. The second trooper pulled up behind him. It is believed the two were going to attempt to better secure their prisoner.
The first trooper "exited the cruiser and walked around the back of the vehicle toward the passenger side door," the affidavit stated.
"But before he got to the door, Germello locked the vehicle and began getting into the driver's seat," according to the affidavit.
Suddenly, Germello, still handcuffed was able to put the car "in drive and headed east on Interstate 180 at a high rate of speed," police said.
The trooper jumped into the second cruiser, and the two officers pursued their prisoner, who, during the pursuit cut off a motorcyclist and forced two other motorists to take evasive action as she first drove into the median and then "fishtailed onto the berm," police said.
Soon after Germello exited at the Faxon interchange, she was hit by the second cruiser and crashed into the tree, police said. She was immediately taken into custody, a second time.
Police have charged her with felony theft, receiving stolen property, flight to avoid apprehension, escape, possession of heroin, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and related offenses.
Following her arraignment before District Judge James H. Sortman, Germello was committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $90,000 bail.