State police identify driver who fatally shot himself
COAL TOWNSHIP - State police at Stonington identified the driver who fatally shot himself here Saturday night after leading state and local police on a high speed pursuit and intense standoff as Greg Demage, 30, of Jim Thorpe.
Demage was identified as a person of interest in the deaths of John Carnochan, 77, and Mildred Carnochan, 75, of Split Rock Resort, near Lake Harmony.
Kidder Township police were dispatched to 33 Wolf Hollow Drive at about noon Saturday to check on the welfare of residents there. Police said the Carnochans were found dead in the home and their silver 2006 Cadillac DTS sedan was missing.
The Morning Call, Allentown, reported their home is located in a golf course community with large newer homes, some of which serve as vacation properties.
According to a police report, state police at Stonington were requested by state police at Fern Ridge to check a residence in Snydertown, approximately 70 miles west of the original incident, to locate the Cadillac at 7:30 p.m. Troopers observed the vehicle traveling near Snydertown Road and attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle sped off, eluding troopers.
Approximately 20 minutes later, Ralpho Township Patrolman Christopher Grow spotted the Cadillac near the intersection of Routes 54 and 487 in Elysburg. The ensuing pursuit reached 120 mph, according to scanner transmissions.
Police reported the driver was weaving in and out of traffic near Tharptown and nearly hit another car.
In a matter of minutes, Shamokin Police Department was notified and Patrolman Raymond J. Siko II placed a spike strip on the road near Jack Williams Tire and Auto in Shamokin in an attempt to stop the chase.
Siko said Demage swerved as he approached the curve at Sunbury (Route 61) and Sixth streets, and only the left side tires passed over the spikes. The right side tires were able to fit between a small space between the strip and curb.
The spikes are not designed to blow tires, but rather puncture and deflate slowly, Siko said.
Demage continued through Route 61 riding on punctured tires with state police and local police from Ralpho Township, Shamokin and Coal Township hot on his trail.
Witnesses and officers said sparks were flying from the rim and smoke was rising from the friction of the metal against the road.
Demage continued south out of Shamokin and turned around in the parking lot of Miller Gas Station. The officers pulled in after him, but Demage sped out of the parking lot and started driving the wrong direction on Route 61.
Siko said he had packed up the spikes and was back in pursuit moments later. As he was approaching Pizza Hut and McDonalds, he was warned by officers that Demage was coming straight at him.
At this point, Shamokin Patrolman Scott Weaver said he was preparing to implement a PIT maneuver, a pursuit intervention technique in which one car pursuing another can force the pursued vehicle to abruptly turn sideways to the direction of travel, causing the driver to lose control and stop.
However, Demage came to a final stop between Pizza Hut and McDonalds at the intersection of Route 61 and Luke Fidler Road facing southbound traffic. The front passenger tire was off its rim and wrapped around the front driver's side tire.
Police officers positioned themselves in the southbound and northbound lanes behind their vehicles and open cruiser doors. Mount Carmel Sgt. Todd Owens commanded Demage on the loud speaker to throw his keys out the window and surrender himself to the police.
After several minutes of commands, a single muffled gunshot was heard from inside the vehicle at approximately 8:30 p.m. Soon after, officers approached the vehicle with guns drawn and smashed the driver's window.
Officers declared the scene secure shortly before 9 p.m.
"No police officers discharged their weapons," Siko said.
Troopers were assisted by officers from Shamokin, Coal Township, Kulpmont, Mount Carmel Township, Mount Carmel and Sunbury; and Northumberland County Sheriff Chad Reiner and K-9, Clark, District Attorney's and Coroner's offices.
Also assisting were Coal Township Fire Department and fire police, Shamokin fire police, and Area Services.
Geisinger Life Flight was put on notice as well.
State police at Stonington directed any additional inquiries to Trooper Matthew Burrows of the Milton station, but Burrows was not available Sunday.
Officers from Coal Township and Ralpho Township police departments did not return calls for further details.
According to Times News, Lehighton, Demage was facing multiple charges as a result of a Nov. 7, 2011, incident in Jim Thorpe.
They reported that police were dispatched to 1025 Center St. where Demage's wife, Renee K. Demage, reported that Demage threatened her with a knife and demanded money.
After Demage's arraignment, police discovered a syringe on the floor in front of Demage, which he admitted belonged to him, Times News reported.
The man is charged with simple assault, terroristic threats, harassment and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was due in Carbon County Court on March 29 for pre-trial conference.
Times News also reported in June 2011 that Citimortgage, 1000 Technology Drive, O'Fallon, Ohio, filed against Demage over property at that address. They were seeking $79,085.44 and continuing interest.
Autopsies are scheduled for John and Mildred Carnochan Monday.
Carbon County Corner Bruce Nalesnik told the Morning Call that the Carnochans had "multiple wounds," but would not tell the newspaper whether gunshots were involved.
Anyone who saw the Carnochans since Wednesday evening is asked to call state police at 646-2271.