WATTSBURG — A 26-year-old man faces numerous offenses, including a felony fleeing charge, after he fled from a traffic stop in Union Township and led state troopers on a high-speed pursuit through the borough of Wattsburg early Thursday morning while he was allegedly in possession of methamphetamine.
Pennsylvania State Police arrested the driver of the fleeing vehicle, who was identified as Steven Combs of Wattsburg, and he was committed to Erie County Prison today on $75,000 straight bond following a preliminary arraignment before District Judge Denise Buell.
Corry-based troopers initiated the pursuit on a red 2002 Ford Mustang on Route 6 in Union Township at about 1:08 a.m. Thursday for failing to pull over for summary traffic violations. The pursuit spanned various roadways in Union, Wayne and Amity townships as well as Wattsburg Borough.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed with the police criminal complaint, a pair of troopers were traveling west in a marked patrol vehicle on East High Street in the borough of Union City when a Ford Mustang passed by going the opposite direction. One of the troopers had his window down and it was apparent the vehicle was still operating with studded tires after April 15 so he turned around and began following the Mustang.
The suspect vehicle sped up to about 90 MPH, at which point the troopers activated their emergency lights in an attempt to conduct a traffic stop, the affidavit states. The Mustang stopped near Hoyt Road for a short period of time and then took off again.
The troopers pursued the vehicle east on Route 6 traveling at speeds near 90 MPH and turned north onto Route 89 traveling at speeds greater than 100 MPH, according to the affidavit.
The Mustang then led troopers on a high-speed pursuit in Wattsburg where it continuously drove through the borough for about 10 minutes, traveling through fields and yards and over curbs.
Eventually the Mustang traveled north out of the borough on Routes 8 and 89 and into the village of Lowville before turning right onto Creek Road to head back to Wattsburg. Once the vehicle was back in the borough, its lights were turned off for the remainder of the pursuit to avoid detection, the affidavit states.
At that time, troopers from the Erie barracks arrived to assist with the pursuit. Troopers said a successful PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver was performed in a cultivated field on Schoolhouse Street and Combs was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit.
Combs was found to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine as well as drug paraphernalia. According to the affidavit, a passenger in the vehicle, identified as Jillian Seymour, was also in possession of drug paraphernalia and claimed that she pleaded for Combs to stop the vehicle and let her out several times during the pursuit but he refused.
Combs admitted to using meth and was transported to Corry Memorial Hospital, an affiliate of LECOM Health, to be medically cleared and he also consented to a chemical test of blood, the affidavit states.
Seymour was transported to the Erie barracks and processed on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Combs was charged with a third-degree felony count of fleeing and eluding; misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of a controlled substance, recklessly endangering another person and unlawful restraint; and a slew of summary traffic violations.
His preliminary hearing has been set for May 29 before Buell.