Charges pending in 3-county pursuit that ended in Mount Carmel
MOUNT CARMEL - Criminal charges are pending against a Tower City man who led police officers from 10 stations on a near 30-mile, three-county car chase early Sunday morning.
The incident began shortly after midnight with a traffic violation in Aristes and ended more than one hour later when Robert C. Miller, 36, drove on sidewalks in Mount Carmel Borough, according to Officer-In-Charge Philip Schlegel of Conyngham Township Police.
In between, he passed through Ashland, Butler Township, Conyngham Township, Lavelle, Locust Summit, Locustdale and Mount Carmel Township - and some of them twice.
Miller was taken into custody at gunpoint after 1 a.m. at Fifth and Locust streets after police officers used patrol vehicles to pin his Ford Explorer.
"He resisted a little bit but eventually was taken into custody," Schlegel said.
An investigation continues. Schlegel said he expected to file charges either Monday or today at the office of Magisterial District Judge Craig Long, of Catawissa.
According to Schlegel, he was on patrol in Aristes and observed Miller fail to make a complete stop at Mid Valley Road and Main Street (Route 42). He continued south into Centralia and was driving "all over the road" and almost struck a ditch, Schlegel said.
The officer said he activated his emergency lights while Miller drove on Route 61 toward Ashland. When Miller turned left onto Centre Street, Schlegel said he activated his vehicle's siren.
"Once that occurred, he decided to speed down Centre Street at about 60 mph," Schlegel said, allegedly passing a few vehicles and almost striking a pedestrian along the way.
"At that time, the pursuit was on," Schlegel said.
The chase continued and area officers responded to Schlegel's request for backup, moving from Centre Street onto Hoffman Boulevard and then on back roads in the Gordon area to Route 901 and into Lavelle and over the mountain to Locust Summit. Schlegel said Miller turned on Route 54 toward Locustdale and turned north on Route 61 in Ashland before cutting over to Mount Carmel via Snake Road.
Miller ignored area officers' attempts to pull him over throughout, Schlegel said.
Officers briefly lost track of Miller on the back streets of Mount Carmel before he again was spotted taking Snake Road back toward Ashland. Schlegel said Miller struck a Frackville patrol car at the intersection with Route 61 and escaped capture at the Route 54 intersection.
"There was a brief moment that we had him somewhat blocked in, but he made a sharp right turn onto Route 54 and struck the Frackville vehicle again," Schlegel said.
From there, Miller drove back through Locustdale and Locust Summit, driving over the Merrian Mountain and again onto Mount Carmel's side streets.
When Miller drove onto a sidewalk for "a brief moment," Schlegel said "the officer from Frackville decided we needed to get him stopped."
The Frackville officer drove into Miller's Explorer and came to a stop at Fifth and Locust streets. Miller tried to drive off, Schlegel said, but another officer drove into the Explorer head on and blocked it.
Miller was observed on scene by emergency medical personnel and transported to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. He was later released into police custody and jailed in Columbia County Prison, Bloomsburg, on outstanding bench warrants from both Northumberland and Schuylkill counties.
Fire department personnel were also called to the scene of the crash, which wasn't cleared until after 2 a.m., Schlegel said.
Assisting Conyngham Township Police were officers from Frackville, Mount Carmel, Mount Carmel Township, Shenandoah, Mahanoy Township, Butler Township, Ashland, Ralpho Township and state police at Frackville.