It was a chase that would have even made the Blues Brothers blush.
A Bigler man faces multiple traffic offenses and a felony charge after leading multiple departments on a car chase spanning several municipalities.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Spring Township police, officers were conducting a stationary patrol at about 11 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Pleasant View Boulevard and North Allegheny Street when a white sedan failed to stop at the posted stop sign. The officers activated their emergency lights and siren to conduct a traffic stop.
The vehicle weaved between the white and yellow lines multiple times as it entered Boggs Township, police said. After entering Milesburg, the vehicle made a few turns before turning the wrong way down a one-way street heading toward Turnpike Street. The car was stopped at the intersection of Turnpike and Smith streets and appeared to give up. Officers approached with weapons drawn before the car peeled out toward Bellefonte.
As the car returned to Spring Township, Bellefonte police joined in the pursuit, police said. Officers requested a spike strip as the vehicle traveled through the borough, but the strips could not be deployed in time and the vehicle ran a red light and continued swerving up the Benner Pike toward College Township.
Additional spike strips were requested of State College police, who laid the strips down along the 900 block of Benner Pike, police said. The strips “made full contact with the tires of the vehicle,” as Bellefonte police dropped out of the chase and State College police joined in.
The car continued moving, police said, and the tires began to disintegrate, causing the vehicle to “drive even more erratically.” The driver turned off East College Avenue onto Struble Lane, traveling up to the end of the road, turning around the water tower at the end and heading back down the mountain. As the car was leaving the area, police said, it almost struck a State College police cruiser.
The driver headed back up East College toward the Nittany Mall, police said, where he had difficulty keeping the vehicle on the road. Near the intersection of Shiloh Road and Benner Pike, parts of the vehicle began to dislodge as it was “dragging part of its rocker panel at this time and emitting sparks from the now-exposed rims he was driving on.”
Officers requested another set of spike strips as the rear tires of the car appeared to still be intact, police said.
Spike strips were deployed, which made contact with the rear tires, police said. The vehicle reportedly dragged the strips for a short period before they were recovered.
As pursuit returned to Benner Township, State College units discontinued and Bellefonte units rejoined, police said. The vehicle began moving even more erratically, including swerving into the oncoming lane.
Along the Benner Pike, the car reportedly left the roadway and struck two street signs, police said. It also struck a snow pile near the intersection of Rishel Hill Road, at which point state police troopers joined pursuit.
As the vehicle approached the intersection of East Rolling Ridge Drive, it slowed “considerably,” police said. Officers were able to approach the vehicle, and one officer used his baton to break the driver’s window as police “forcibly removed” the driver.
It was noted as the officer was breaking the window, police said, that the driver was allegedly observed to be actively drinking out of a bottle of whiskey.
The driver was identified as John L. Sine, 59, who began to go in and out of consciousness, police said. An ambulance was called to the scene and he was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center for treatment.
Sine was reported as having a warrant out of Mifflin County, police said, and a suspended driver’s license. At the end, the pursuit ended after 40 minutes and 17.2 miles of travel through six different municipalities.
Sine was arraigned Saturday by District Justice Thomas Jordan, according to court documents, and charged with a felony count of fleeing officers, misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and DUI, and multiple summary traffic offenses, including failure to stop at a red signal, reckless driving and driving while privileges are suspended. Bail was set at $50,000.
A preliminary hearing is slated for Wednesday.