7.10.12 Stolen car pursuit, arrest

16 July 2012 by Lt. Todd Umstead

     At 5:00 p.m. July 9, 2012 Lancaster County Wide Communication broadcast that a civilian was following a stolen vehicle in the area of Lancaster Township and that officers from Manheim Township were currently looking for the vehicle in the area of the Millersville Pike. This vehicle had been reported stolen to the Manheim Twp. Police on July 6th. LCWC later advised that the civilian following the vehicle had lost sight of the vehicle in Lancaster City in the area of Manor Street and New Dorwart Street. Lancaster City Police Officers Mark Gehron and Stan Roache were in that area when they observed the vehicle, a black Acura Rx, at Union and New Dorwart Street.

     Officers Roache and Gehron began following the vehicle and turned on their lights and siren in an attempt to stop the vehicle. The vehicle began to increase speed in an attempt to elude the officers and continued on Union St. to Conestoga St. and then South onto S. Prince Street. The vehicle failed to stop for a red light at S. Prince Street and Hazel Street and again at S. Prince Street and Seymour Street.

     The vehicle then continued south on Prince Street and the front seat passenger (a 39-year-old city man) put his hands out of the window and began waving them in the air. The passenger then opened the passenger side door of the vehicle and the vehicle began to slow down to approx. 20 mph, but never stopped. Officers then observed the passenger's feet hanging out of the vehicle. The vehicle began swerving across both lanes of S. Prince Street and at the intersection of S. Prince St. and Furnace St. the passenger rolled out of the vehicle. He did not sustain any serious injuries.

     Officers Gehron and Roache continued to pursue the vehicle south on Willow Street Pike. Officers from West Lampeter attempted to deploy stop sticks in the 2000 blk of Willow Street Pike but the vehicle swerved into the oncoming traffic lane in order to avoid the stop sticks.

The vehicle continued south on Willow Street Pike, then proceeded onto Long Lane, continuing west on Long Lane, then north to Millwood Road, committing numerous traffic violations (speeding, running stop signs, lane change violations).  Then vehicle then turned north on Route 222 and proceeded around a corner, swerving into LCPD Sgt. Jason Ziegler's lane of travel, nearly striking his marked patrol vehicle.

    Officers continued to follow the vehicle north on route 222 and it attempted to pass a slower moving civilian vehicle when travelling towards a marked PA State Police Vehicle, causing the Trooper to swerve out of the way to avoid a head-on collision. At the same time, the vehicle swerved in the opposite direction causing it to leave the roadway and continue through several yards and coming to rest in front of a residence in the 1100 block of Willow Street Pike.

     Officers arrested the driver of the stolen vehicle and transported him to the Lancaster City police station. The driver initially provided a false name but was identified as Steven RETH, 21-year-old male, no known address.  

     As a result of this investigation, Det. Heather Halstead charged Steven Reth with the following offenses: Receiving Stolen Property, Aggravated Assault (2 counts), Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, False Identification to Law Enforcement, Driver Required to be Licensed, Stop Signs and Yield Signs (2 counts), Driving on Roadways Laned for Traffic, Driving on Right Side of Roadway (3 counts) and Criminal Mischief before DJ Cheryl Hartman. He was arraigned and committed to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of ($unknown) bail.

     The passenger was not charged with any crime. 

All persons accused of a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in court.