Vehicle chase ends in crash, police say

A Luzerne County man is facing felony charges after allegedly attempting to evade officers during a traffic stop in the State College Borough.

According to the criminal complaint filed by State College police, officers posted at about 1:15 a.m. Dec. 10 at the intersection of East College Avenue and South Pugh Street when they observed a black sedan travel past them along East College at a high rate of speed.

Officers were able to maintain visual contact of the vehicle as it merged onto North Atherton Street, police said. It was estimated the car was traveling about 45 mph in a 25 mph zone with heavy foot traffic in the area.

Officers caught up to the vehicle at the intersection of North Atherton and East Park Avenue, police said. Near Hillcrest Avenue, the driver reportedly drifted to the left and right, crossing painted lines in the road.

The driver allegedly nearly caused a crash while turning left onto West Cherry Lane, police said, and officers activated the emergency lights and siren to conduct a traffic stop. At that point, police said the car accelerated rapidly along West Cherry at a high rate of speed.

Officers observed the driver crash at the end of the road, police said. The driver, Samuel L. Shaffer, 20, of Shickshinny, and a female passenger were located inside.

Shaffer reportedly claimed he crashed because he wasn’t familiar with the area, police said. He was observed to have bloodshot eyes and an odor of alcohol on him, and allegedly admitted to consuming several drinks earlier in the night.

He performed unsatisfactorily on a field sobriety test, police said, and was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center for a blood draw. A lab result later showed a BAC of .138 percent.

Shaffer’s female passenger reportedly told police he was driving her home and was driving fast, police said. She claimed to have asked Shaffer to slow down, but he ignored her.

Shaffer was arraigned Tuesday by District Judge Steven Lachman, according to court documents, and faces a felony count of fleeing an officer, misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and reckless endangerment and several summary charges. Unsecured bail was set at $10,000.

A preliminary hearing is slated for Feb. 15.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews