Man leads police on high-speed chase, cops say

A Woodland man is facing charges after he reportedly led police on a 12-mile high-speed chase.

Richard Earl Harris, IV, 21, is charged with felony counts of fleeing or attempting to elude police, two felony counts of aggravated assault, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, two counts of accidents involving damage to attended vehicle or property, accidents involving death or personal injury, possession of drug paraphernalia and nine traffic summaries.

He waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court at the Clearfield County Jail. He remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, at 3:12 a.m. May 21 a Lawrence Township police officer reportedly saw a gray sedan traveling at a high rate of speed eastbound on state Route 879 near Interstate 80 exit 120. Police said the officer followed the vehicle, driven by Harris, as it turned into the parking lot of Sapp Brothers Truck Stop. The officer activated his lights in an attempt to initiate a traffic stop, police said, but the vehicle excited the parking lot and accelerated.

Police said the vehicle swerved into the oncoming lane several times. As police followed the vehicle east toward Shawville, a police car reportedly lost traction and slid into guardrails.

The vehicles continued past the Shawville Power Plant at a speed of more than 100 mph. The vehicle paused briefly on Manor Lane in Frenchville due to a large metal gate blocking the dirt roadway, but then accelerated, police said, ramming the gate and breaking it open.

The officer continued to pursue the vehicle as it reportedly turned around and headed toward him. The officer followed the suspect’s vehicle back toward state Route 879. A second officer reportedly responded, following suspect’s vehicle at about 124 mph.

The vehicle reportedly made a U-turn. The police car began driving toward the guardrails in an attempt to block the road, police said.

The suspect allegedly sped up and struck the passenger side of the second police car. The vehicle accelerated and exited the roadway on the opposite side, police said, where it went over a ditch and struck the ground with its undercarriage. The vehicle came to rest about 4.3 miles from Manor Lane. The entire pursuit was about 12.7 miles, police said.

The suspect allegedly made an attempt to flee on foot but gave up quickly because two state troopers and the second officer were all ordering him to the ground at gunpoint. Police took him into custody and identified him as Harris.

Harris reportedly told police it was his girlfriend’s car, and they had been fighting. He said he took it while she was asleep. When asked why he was fleeing, he allegedly said, “because I want to die.” According to police, Harris was then was transported to Penn Highlands, Clearfield, for a mental evaluation and left in the custody of hospital staff. However, police said Harris left the hospital prior to being discharged. He was taken into custody again and transported to the county jail.

The owner of the vehicle reportedly told police Harris had been advised multiple times by both her and her husband that he was not allowed to use the vehicle. She gave police consent to search the vehicle.

According to police, baggies of a green vegetable matter, grinders, a glass pipe, a knife, two cellphones, ammunition, a shotgun and a rifle were uncovered.