SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A man from Berlin was hit with a slew of charges after he led multiple different police departments on a high-speed chase in Somerset County.
On April 12 around noon, Somerset Borough police were told that 30-year-old James Gary Jr., who had an active warrant for failure to appear, was at Sheetz on East Main Street, according to charges filed. When police arrived in the area, they said they found Gary driving a tan GMC in a plaza on East Main Street and followed him.
Officers turned on their emergency lights and sirens, and instead of pulling over, Gary reportedly sped up and started fleeing from police. Additional officers from state police, Somerset Borough PD and Berlin PD were requested as Gary continued south on Berlin Plank Road.
While chasing Gary, police noted he was driving at speeds up to 110 mph. Gary also was allegedly passing vehicles and crossing center lines in front of oncoming traffic.
Once he passed the 219 on-ramp, police said he nearly struck several vehicles traveling the same direction. Gary continued toward the intersection of the Garrett Shortcut where traffic was stopped on Berlin Plank Road with a steady red light. Police noted he crossed the center lines, passing the stopped vehicles – one of which was a 10,000-gallon fuel tank.
Berline police were getting ready to intercept Gary as he continued south on Berlin Plank Road, and they joined the chase once he reached East Mud Pike.
While making a left onto Brotherton Road, a Somerset Borough police cruiser and Gary’s vehicle collided, causing Gary to strike a small embankment by Keim’s saw shop. Police noted that Gary crawled out of his window and took off on foot.
During the foot pursuit, police said Gary appeared to have given up and was laying on the ground where he was arrested. Because he was injured from the crash, EMS and fire units were dispatched to the area. Gary was transported to UPMC Somerset while being escorted by officers from Berlin police and the Somerset County Sheriff’s office.
Furthermore, police noted they found a clear baggie with white residue in the center console of the vehicle as well as several other new baggies of different sizes consistent with selling illicit drugs. Gary also allegedly admitted to smoking weed recently.
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Gary was hit with 27 charges, which include aggravated assault, fleeing an officer, resisting arrest, flight to avoid apprehension, recklessly endangering another person, DUI and several summary charges.
He’s being held at Somerset County Prison with bail at $100,000 cash. His preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place April 26.