Police pursuit ends with crash on New Kensington residential street; 2 bystanders hospitalized |
Valley News Dispatch

Police pursuit ends with crash on New Kensington residential street; 2 bystanders hospitalized

Natasha Lindstrom
New Kensington and Arnold firefighters finish clearing the scene of a car crash at North Street and Leishmann Avenue in New Kensington on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. An SUV fleeing from police ran a stop sign and collided into a sedan, sending two people to the hospital with major injuries, officials said.

A police pursuit through Arnold and New Kensington ended Friday afternoon with an SUV running a stop sign and crashing into a car on a residential street, sending two people riding in it to the hospital with major injuries, officials said.

One suspect was arrested soon after the crash but police did not immediately identify him. Police were searching for the other suspect Friday night.

The incident began when police responded to a report of a man harassing a woman at her workplace, Arnold police Sgt. Joseph Nixon said.

“He wouldn’t leave this person alone at work,” Nixon said.

While officers were taking a report, the man showed up there in a white Ford Explorer along with a male passenger. Police learned he had outstanding warrants for his arrest, Nixon said.

When police tried to confront him, the man driving the SUV took off and police gave chase.

The SUV struck a mailbox near Constitutional Boulevard and Catalpa Street before turning onto Leishman Avenue, Nixon said.

The Explorer then ran through a stop sign and collided into the front side of a blue Hyundai traveling along North Street shortly before 3 p.m.

“It sounded almost like an explosion going off, like a shotgun blast,” said William Snoots, 45, who lives at the corner of North and Leishman and witnessed the collision.

Moments earlier, Snoots had heard the local fire siren and tuned into a police scanner channel, where he heard about the chase. He was smoking a cigarette on his porch when the Explorer came racing toward him at what seemed like a dangerously high rate of speed, Snoots said.

The crash caused the Explorer to spin out of control, jump a curb bordering Snoots’ home and damage multiple parked cars. A parked white Saturn spun sideways and hit a Comcast van parked on the other side of the street. The Explorer came to a rest against a fire hydrant.

“The hydrant stopped them from coming into my porch,” Snoots said. “The impact was so hard (a person in the Saturn) was ejected halfway out of her driver’s side. She was hanging out the window. Everybody came running out of their house after it happened.”

The two men in the Explorer immediately jumped out and took off running, Sgt. Nixon said.

Police found and arrested one of the fleeing men near Leishman Avenue and Richmond Street. The man, whose name was not immediately available, was being held at New Kensington Police Station pending additional charges, which could include evading and fleeing police, destruction of property, traffic violations and other charges, Nixon said.

The second man escaped.

The incident rattled neighbors, Snoots said, particularly since it happened on a neighborhood street with children walking around shortly after schools let out.

Nixon said the pursuit lasted less than a minute. He did not provide any estimates at how fast the SUV or police chasing it were traveling.

The two people hospitalized were in the Hyundai that was struck when the Explorer ran the stop sign.

One of the two victims taken to the hospital turned out to be Snoots’ cousin.

“I didn’t know it was him at first until I did a double-look,” said Snoots, whose family members were on the way to the hospital shortly after 4 p.m.

Both victims were alert when paramedics arrived, Snoots said.

Updates on their conditions were not available late Friday.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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