12/21/2006

High-speed chase ends badly in Pa.

By Liz Zemba
Tribune-Review

A high-speed police pursuit ended in a three-vehicle crash in Arona Borough Tuesday, according to reports.

State police at Greensburg said that after 5 p.m. Jeannette police were in pursuit of a vehicle stolen out of the city.

The pursuit ended when a Chrysler Concorde officers said was driven by Harold Shields, 24, of Homestead, Allegheny County, crashed on Route 136 at Arona Road, authorities said.

Jeannette police Officer Dennis Pape, who initiated the pursuit, deferred comment to Chief Jeff Stahl.

"From what I understand, Dennis was attempting to stop this guy for some traffic violations, and this guy just took off," Stahl said.

The drivers of two vehicles that were struck by the car that police were pursuing did not seek medical attention at the scene, authorities said.

According to reports, Dee Santoro, 43, of Hempfield Township, and Dan Apone, 39, of Mt. Pleasant, were waiting in their vehicles at a four-way stop on Route 136, near Dewey Lane, when a speeding, mid-size passenger car zoomed into the intersection.

Santoro said there was no sign of the speeding car until just before it hit Apone's GMC Canyon pickup truck.

"The guy ran the stop sign," Santoro said, referring to the driver of the passenger car. "He hit (Apone), bounced off him and hit me."

Apone said the speeding car approached so quickly that he did not see it.

"I looked, there was nobody, and I started to go," Apone said. "Then, bam, he careened off me, hit (Santoro), kept going and spun out."

Police said Shields' vehicle struck Apone's in the left-front bumper and Santoro's in the left-front quarter panel. Shields continued west on Route 136 for about 70 feet before traveling about three feet up an embankment then returning to the roadway, according to reports. Police said he spun 180 degrees before coming to rest on the road facing east.

According to state police, Shields was arrested by Jeannette police. A 17-year-old female from Pittsburgh who was a passenger in the front seat of Shields' vehicle was taken to Jeannette Hospital for minor injuries. No other injuries were reported.

Steve Zitkovich, an employee of Log Cabin Tire on Route 136, said the speeding car and police cruiser passed by the tire shop just before the accident.

"The way they were moving, we knew they weren't going to go very far," Zitkovich said. "I didn't think any one of them was going to make it through the S turns."

Route 136 curves sharply just after the tire shop.

Copyright 2006 Tribune Review Publishing Company
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