Teen faces charges following Pittsburgh car chase

Has quarterback used 'last chance'?

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Less than two months after a judge gave the Woodland Hills High School starting quarterback his "last chance" to stay out of prison by moving his case to juvenile court, Harry Randall is back in the Allegheny County Jail.

This time, the 18-year-old, who was already facing armed robbery charges, is accused of leading Pittsburgh police on a high-speed chase early Sunday morning in Homewood.

Mr. Randall is charged with receiving stolen property, endangering welfare of children, fleeing, escape and related traffic charges.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, officers on patrol at North Lang and Frankstown avenues about 1:34 a.m. spotted a silver sedan driving inbound. The officers checked the car's registration and noted it had been reported stolen in Swissvale. They later learned that the car was stolen from a home on the same street where Mr. Randall lives.

The officers followed the car a short distance before attempting to pull it over and, the complaint said, the driver -- later identified as Mr. Randall -- took off.

The chase, which reached speeds of more than 75 mph, lasted approximately five minutes -- and went past an area congested with patrons from a nightclub -- before officers lost the vehicle on Callowhill Street in Highland Park.

Officers found the car crashed and still running in the 1400 block of North Euclid Avenue. A short time later, a K-9 officer picked up a scent from the vehicle and led police to a 16-year-old boy believed to have been a passenger of the car. He was taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, where he was treated for a fractured wrist and a laceration on his forehead. According to the report, the teen jumped out of the vehicle before it crashed.

About 2:07 a.m., officers spotted Mr. Randall leaving woods near North Highland Avenue and Elgin Street, covered in snow.

He was arrested, and police said they found a small amount of marijuana on him.

On Dec. 13, Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani had a decertification hearing on armed robbery charges Mr. Randall was facing.

According to investigators in that case, Mr. Randall and another man, E.W. Richardson, ordered two pizzas to be delivered to Collingwood Avenue about 8 p.m. March 6. The call was placed from a cell phone belonging to Mr. Randall's mother.

When the delivery driver arrived, he was robbed at gunpoint. The suspects took $180, the driver's wallet, pizza delivery bag and pizza.

Officers traced the order back to the phone used by Mr. Randall, according to the complaint in that case, and also recovered the wallet, pizza bag and pizza in his bedroom. The shotgun believed to have been used in the incident was found under a couch in the home.

Mr. Randall's defense attorney, Kaitlin Euler, asked that the case be moved to juvenile court because of her client's difficult childhood. He also has been diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder.

But assistant district attorney Melissa Byrnes argued that Mr. Randall was 17 years, 10 months old at the time of the armed robbery and that he has failed to take advantage of the opportunities given him through the juvenile court system for previous crimes.

She told Judge Mariani that Mr. Randall's criminal activities were escalating.

"I don't believe he's shown this court he's willing and wanting to be rehabilitated," she said. "He has shown he doesn't follow the rules."

Still, Judge Mariani said at the time that he would move Mr. Randall's case to juvenile court because, unlike many defendants he sees, he had a chance to go to college. Mr. Randall's high school football coach testified at the hearing that the senior was being recruited for football scholarships from a number of Division I schools.

"This is the last chance you're ever going to have to keep yourself from going to prison for five to 10," Judge Mariani said at the time.

The judge was unavailable Monday. Ms. Euler could not be reached for comment.

District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said Monday that his office disagreed with Judge Mariani's decision to move Mr. Randall's case but that there was no basis to file an appeal.

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard. First Published February 10, 2014 12:44 PM


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