SHAMOKIN - The owner of a pickup truck was partially inside the vehicle's cab while he held tightly onto the driver-side door Monday night as an alleged thief sped off in reverse, crossing two lanes of traffic, jumping a curb and glancing a tree.

Behind the wheel of the 2008 Chevrolet Silverado was 34-year-old Cyrus Lewis, of Shamokin, who had jumped into the pickup about 8:25 p.m. while the owner, Trevor Tamkus, was inside Friendly Choice convenience store, 517 E. Sunbury St.

According to a police affidavit, Tamkus gave chase and jumped into the truck to prevent the theft. He and Lewis struggled for control, with Tamkus trying to put the pickup in park. Lewis put it in reverse and drove backwards out of the parking lot and directly across Sunbury Street before crashing into a tree.

Tamkus put it in park and, according to a witness, held the driver's door shut with the help of a bystander when Lewis attempted to flee.

"I pulled into the parking lot to put air in my tire when I saw the truck drifting backwards," said the bystander, who wished to remain anonymous. "The owner of the truck was hanging onto the driver's door."

When Shamokin Police Chief Darwin Tobias III and Cpl. Bryan Primerano arrived on scene, Tamkus had a hold of Lewis and told the officers "this guy stole my truck. Are you ready to take him?"

Three separate witnesses confirmed Tamkus's account of the incident, police said.

Lewis was taken into custody and searched before being transported to the city police station for questioning. He was in possession of a backpack containing syringes, a spoon and an open bottle of liquor. Police said he appeared intoxicated.

Lewis is charged by Primerano with two felony counts of robbery, felony theft, misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, simple assault, reckless endangerment and driving under the influence and a summary count of driving with a suspended license. He was to be taken to the holding cell at Northumberland County Prison, Sunbury, and arraigned today by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III.

Sunbury Street was closed briefly during the incident. Coal Township Cpl. Terry Ketchem and Patrolman David Sage assisted at the scene.

Lewis's arrest comes two days after he crashed a vehicle along Route 901. Coal Township police took him into custody Saturday afternoon on suspicion of driving under the influence after he crashed a Dodge Neon head-on into a tree near Industrial Park Road.

A 1.75-liter of Crown Russe vodka was found in the car and was placed into evidence by officers on scene. The mangled vehicle was towed to the Exxon station, which is located just a block away from Monday's incident.