BELLE VERNON, Pa. (AP) — A tractor-trailer driver threw items from his cab at police — including socks, shoes and a small refrigerator — as he led them on a 34-mile chase in western Pennsylvania, authorities said Sunday.
Police in Westmoreland County said a man called emergency dispatchers just before 2 a.m. Saturday and said he planned to wreck his truck. State troopers tried to stop the vehicle near Washington Township but the driver disregarded the emergency lights and sirens, and a pursuit began along Route 70 and later the Pennsylvania Turnpike, police said.
"During the pursuit, the driver threw numerous items at pursuing troopers from the cab" including a steel canister that struck a Greensburg state police unit and disabled it, police said. The driver also threw a mini refrigerator before the truck was stopped with spike strips shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday.
The driver refused orders to leave the cab, police said, so troopers entered and used a stun gun to subdue him. He was taken to a hospital because officers believed he was under the influence of a controlled substance, namely Xanax, and for other injuries, police said.
"It should be noted that during the pursuit the operator threw his shoes and socks at troopers. When the windows were broken to make entry into the cab, the operator's feet were cut during his resistance to arrest," police said. At the hospital, he was treated for cuts on his feet, and a blood sample was taken for testing.
The driver, identified as Christopher Charles Boyer, 47, of Mifflintown, is charged with aggravated assault, fleeing or attempting to elude, reckless endangering, resisting arrest and other counts. Court documents indicate he had requested representation by the public defender's office, which rang unanswered Sunday.
State police told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Boyer was the only occupant of the truck, which hauls sand used in the hydraulic fracturing drilling process, known as fracking. Police did not disclose his employer.