A New Castle man faces multiple assault charges after allegedly trying to ram a state police car during a pursuit.
Police are looking for 20-year-old Jermaine Christopher Hunter, who was charged Friday with four felony counts of aggravated assault, as well as one felony count each of receiving stolen property and fleeing or attempting to elude police.
He also faces two misdemeanor counts of accidents involving death or personal injury, one misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering another person and six summary traffic offenses.
New Castle police said they were patrolling on Cascade Street at 10:53 a.m. Sept. 20 when officers turned onto Pin Oak Drive and observed a silver Dodge Durango traveling towards them. The Durango matched the description of one reported stolen earlier in the day, and when the officers turned around to follow it, they noted that the license plate also matched.
One black male was operating the vehicle, and another was in the seat behind him.
The police activated their lights and siren in an attempt to stop the vehicle, but the Durango fled at a high rate of speed on Cascade Street.
The officers lost track of the Durango when it turned onto Federal Street. Witnesses told police that the vehicle had turned back onto Cascade, heading southbound, but it was not located, and the pursuit was called off at 10:58.
Nine minutes later, police were notified that the Durango had been involved in an accident at the intersection of Route 422 and Pulaski Road.
A state trooper stationed at a construction site on the Route 422 bypass spotted the Durango traveling at a high rate of speed, and having monitored previous radio traffic about it, gave pursuit. The vehicle exited the bypass onto Route 422 west, then turned onto Pulaski Road.
According to police, the Durango then turned around and drove directly at the state trooper, who was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
The Durango then drove into the path of a Plymouth Voyager, striking the vehicle head on. The driver of the minivan was transported to Jameson Hospital with injuries to the left side of her head and her left shoulder. The Durango continued across Route 422 until coming to rest on Harbor-Edinburg Road.
Police said the two black males got out and fled on foot, but two females remained at the scene. The females, who are sisters, denied having been in the Durango.
Officers from New Castle, Pulaski Township, Union Township, the state police and the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office searched the area with the help of a state police helicopter, but the two males were not found.
Later, police contacted the owner of the stolen Durango, who said she believed a male who goes by “JD” was involved in the theft. With that information, one of the New Castle officers who had seen the driver of the Durango was able to positively identify the man as Hunter, who police know goes by the alias “JD.”
At 2:29 p.m., the identity of the other male also was confirmed, and that man was taken into custody by state police.
That man told police he had been at his girlfriend’s home in Sharon when a man he knew as “JD” showed up at 8 a.m. with the two sisters and the Durango. The man said “JD” wanted to go to Crestview Gardens in New Castle because he had a place they where the four could hang out.
The man claimed he did not know the vehicle was stolen until after police began to pursue it, and that he demanded to be let out at that time.
He also identified “JD” as Jermaine Hunter from photos supplied by officers.