City man charged with 2 DUIs in 2 weeks

A 49-year-old motorist suspected of being on the drug PCP was arrested Wednesday night following a brief pursuit in which he drove his 2013 Ford Explorer on the sidewalk on Arch Street near West Third Street, city Patrolman Gino Caschera said.

The brief pursuit began about 8:20 p.m., just north of the Arch Street bridge, after Caschera recognized Thomas Bennett behind the wheel and was aware that his license had been suspended due to a prior DUI conviction.

“He was the subject of another DUI incident just a week ago,” Caschera said in an affidavit.

Caschera activated his cruiser’s emergency lights and siren, as did other officers who also were in the area, as they pursued Bennett a short distance before he stopped his SUV.

“Ignoring all commands, Bennett exited the vehicle at his own accord and began yelling incoherently. He then walked to the front of the vehicle and began beating on its hood,” Caschera said.

Bennett, of 1144 Market St., was quickly taken to the ground and handcuffed because he continued to ignore officers’ commands, Caschera said.

“I immediately detected a strong chemical odor that I recognized from my past experiences as PCP. This was exactly the same way that Bennett was acting” last week, the officer said.

From the SUV, the officer recovered “a wet cigarette that was consistent with the consumption of PCP. When it was field tested, the wet cigarette showed to be positive for PCP,” Caschera said.

After declining to provide a blood sample, Bennett was arraigned before District Judge Jon E. Kemp on charges of DUI, felony fleeing police, possession of PCP, possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal mischief and driving with a suspended license. He was committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $40,000 bail.

In another criminal case, Kemp also ordered Wesley Lebegern, 24, of 32 Harvest Moon Park, Linden, to jail after the man was unable to post $30,000 bail at his arraignment on city police charges of simple assault and harassment.

The charges stem from Lebegern allegedly punching a woman three times in her face at 326 Locust St. about 11 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

The woman was treated at UPMC Williamsport.

In another city police case, Agent Brittany Alexander has arrested Shamoray Johnson, 19, of the rear of 635 Campbell St., with several felony and misdemeanor charges, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, indecent exposure and related offenses.

The charges stem from Johnson allegedly having inappropriate contact with a female minor in the area of First and Memorial avenues in early April.

Following his arraignment before District Judge Aaron Biichle, Johnson was committed in lieu of $125,000 bail.

Concerning another city police case, Kenneth Lee Williamson, 55, of 326 Bridge St., was arrested for the fifth time for shoplifting after he was caught allegedly trying to leave Wegmans, 201 William St., with $6 worth of merchandise on April 27, according to Patrolman Addison Gingrich.

Following his arraignment before Biichle on felony shoplifting and misdemeanor receiving stolen property, Williamson is free on $10,000 bail.

Also jailed in another case was Derrick Fisher, 24, of 683 Wildwood Blvd., who was charged by city police with felony trespassing for allegedly entering his ex-girlfriend’s home at 808 Cherry St. through a basement window about 10:30 a.m. on April 27.

Once inside, Fisher confronted Sheena Johnson about their “failed relationship,” Patrolman Zachary Geary said in an affidavit.

“Johnson asked him numerous times to leave to which he requested the clothing he had bought her before he left,” Geary said. The woman notified her mother, who called police.

Fisher was nabbed as he attempted to leave the house after seeing officers arriving on the scene. He was initially jailed, but is now free on $50,000 bail.

In another trespassing case, Shariem Houston, 34, of 338 Rural Ave., faces charges of simple assault, felony burglary, felony trespassing, recklessly endangering and harassment after forcing his way into a neighbor’s home and assaulting him, city Patrolman William Badger said.

After he forced his way into Bryan Yaggie home about 3:10 p.m. on May 3, Houston “began punching Yaggie while Yaggie was holding his (Yaggie’s) child in his arms,” Badger alleged in an affidavit.

“Yaggie put the child down on the couch and forced Houston out of the residence,” the officer added.

Houston again forced his way into the home and “sucker punched Yaggie,” Badger alleged. Yaggie again drove the man out of the house, telling Houston he was going to call police.

Following his arraignment before District Judge Christian Frey, Houston was initially jailed, but is now free on $75,000 bail.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)