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High-speed chase ends with arrest

posted Jul 2, 2016, 4:58 AM by Joseph Gray

     James Francis
James Francis

Updated 10 hours ago

A Tarentum man is accused of driving at speeds exceeding 100 mph as he led police on a chase through several communities just after midnight Friday.

James Lawrence Francis, 18, of West Ninth Avenue, was charged Friday with 15 offenses including reckless endangerment, speeding and driving while his license is suspended.

Police from Vandergrift say Francis failed to stop at a stop sign at Longfellow and Hawthorn streets and was pulled over but sped away when a police officer got out of his patrol car to approach Francis.

Francis fled along Route 56 through Allegheny Township and Route 356 through Freeport and Buffalo Township.

Police from several municipalities pursued him at speeds of more than 100 mph, according to court documents.

Police put spike strips at Route 908 and Route 28, but Francis swerved to miss them, the documents state.

In Harrison, the car went up the wrong lane of Freeport Road and down Cottage Avenue before driving into a ditch at the parking lot of the Citizens Hose Fire Department.

When air bags deployed and rendered the car undriveable, police moved in to take Francis and a passenger into custody.

The passenger eventually was released.

Francis was arraigned by District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec.

He is accused of driving through five stop signs and two red lights.

He was ordered sent to the Westmoreland County jail pending a preliminary hearing. Because Francis also is wanted in Allegheny and Butler counties, detainers were filed against him.

That means he won't be released, even if he can post bond.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer.