New Castle News


May 20, 2013

Police: Man facing fourth DUI rams Shenango cruiser

NEW CASTLE — Two weeks after a Shenango officer was killed during an attempted traffic stop, another fleeing driver rammed another township cruiser.

A Scott Township man smashed into a cruiser early Friday while allegedly fleeing police. Eric Jones, 40, of 113 Old Route 108, is facing a slew of charges as a result.

New Castle police say this makes the fourth time that Jones has had driving under the influence-related offenses against him.

Police said an officer was driving west on East Washington Street near Frank Avenue around 12:41 a.m. when he saw a red Mustang traveling without tail lights. After following the Mustang through town, the officer tried to pull over the car but it continued onto Frew Mill Road and into Shenango Township, according to reports.

A Shenango officer had parked on the right berm on Frew Mill Road with his unit’s emergency lights on, and as the Mustang approached, that officer pulled in front of it to try to stop it.

The driver, later identified as Jones, stopped behind the cruiser, then drove up an embankment and tried to go around it. The officer swerved to the right side of the road and the Mustang drove off the hill and hit the cruiser’s driver’s side front and rear passenger doors and the left rear quarter panel, police reports said.

Neither the patrolman nor Jones was injured.

Jones continued on Frew Mill and went through a stop sign at Route 388, then drove into Hickory Township on Route 388 toward Route 108 with his car’s headlights off, police said.

The Mustang then went through the grass of First National Bank on Route 108, damaging the lawn, then back onto Route 388.

Police lost sight of the car on Patterson Road.

The officers found Jones’ abandoned vehicle in the woods off Patterson Road and Jones hiding in shrubbery. He struggled with officers, and they arrested him, reports said.

He consented to a blood alcohol test, and police said they found a marijuana pipe in his pocket at the hospital.

Jones is charged with one count each of aggravated assault for striking the cruiser with an officer inside and aggravated assault for damaging the car and fleeing and eluding police, all felonies.

He also is charged with recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, possession of drug paraphernalia, damaging property, driving without lights to avoid arrest, general lighting requirements for his tail lights being out, driving while his license is suspended or revoked, stop and yield violations, driving at unsafe speed and reckless driving.

Additionally, he is charged with general impairment, driving while under the influence of alcohol at the highest rate of blood alcohol level at .16 percent or higher, and driving under the influence, all of which police say are his fourth offenses.

He was arraigned by District Judge Melissa A. Amodie, who set his jail bond at $25,000. He has since been released on bail, awaiting a preliminary hearing Thursday in Central Court.

Shenango Township police superintendent William Phillips said the cruiser sustained minor damage.

On May 2, Shenango police officer Jerry McCarthy was killed and another patrolman seriously injured when a car driven by 26-year-old Kylee Barletto of 693 Hoover Road, Shenango Township, smashed into a Shenango cruiser broadside while fleeing from city police. She is in the Lawrence County jail.

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