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City Man Jailed After Miles-Long Police Chase

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
February 24, 2016
Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport man is being held in the Allegheny County Jail on $100,000 cash bond after leading police on a wild chase through the Mon Valley that ended with a crash on the Parkway East.

According to court officials, Andre Lamont Johnson, 27, faces a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 29 before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi on an array of charges, including driving under the influence, aggravated assault and multiple moving violations.

McKeesport police Chief Bryan Washowich said officers on routine patrol Friday night near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Lysle Boulevard pulled alongside a car and smelled a "strong odor" of burnt marijuana.

When the car headed toward the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge, Washowich said, police attemped to stop it. The driver then accelerated and fled toward Route 837.

Police followed the vehicle through Duquesne, Munhall and Homestead, Washowich said. The driver, identified by police as Johnson, attempted to lose his pursuers by cutting through side streets near the Carnegie Library of Homestead before exiting back onto Route 837 and crossing the Homestead Grays Bridge.

Driving at a high rate of speed, police said, Johnson crossed into the city of Pittsburgh and got onto the Parkway East, headed toward Monroeville, at the Greenfield exit.

Washowich said Johnson narrowly missed several other cars before striking a safety barrier and another vehicle, then continuing toward Monroeville. At one point, Washowich said, the left front wheel of Johnson's car fell off, but Johnson continued to flee police.

The chase ended when Johnson attempted to leave the Parkway East at the Churchill exit, only to lose control and collide with the McKeesport police cruiser, Washowich said. The officer in the cruiser was not injured, the chief said.

Johnson fled on foot, but was tracked with a police K-9, Washowich said, and ultimately had to be subdued with a Taser when he would not surrender to the arresting officers.

Johnson was examined at UPMC McKeesport hospital but did not need medical treatment, Washowich said.

Johnson was charged by McKeesport police with driving under the influence, aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, recklessly endangering another person, causing or risking a catastrophe, fleeing and eluding police, resisting arrest, and multiple moving violations.

According to court records, it is the second time in two years that Johnson was accused of leading police on a chase. In March 2014, Johnson was arrested and charged with fleeing and eluding police, aggravated assault and multiple related charges after a police chase. He pleaded guilty to simple assault and driving with a suspended license and was sentenced in September 2015 to two years' probation, court records indicate.

Originally published February 24, 2016.

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