West Mifflin man pleads guilty in July car chase

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A man who attempted to run over three West Mifflin police officers during a chase earlier this year pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Philip A. Ignelzi ordered a presentence report for David S. Ausburn and will determine his punishment on Feb. 19.

Mr. Ausburn, 25, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, carrying a firearm without a license and fleeing and eluding from the July 16 incident.

It began early that morning when a West Mifflin officer saw Mr. Ausburn driving erratically near a Shell gas station on Homeville Road.

When he saw the officer behind him, Mr. Ausburn sped off. He led officers on a three-mile chase into Dravosburg, at one point throwing a .40-caliber handgun out the window of his Dodge Durango.

Officers cornered him on Scott Drive, where Mr. Ausburn put his vehicle in reverse and tried to run over one of them. He also struck a police car.

Two officers fired back into Mr. Ausburn's SUV, and he still refused to stop. He fled the scene and was arrested two days later.

He has been in the Allegheny County Jail since.

Assistant District Attorney Lee Goldfarb characterized Mr. Ausburn's actions as "egregious."

"These officers were in grave danger," she said.

Ms. Goldfarb suggested incarceration of at least 15 months.

But Mr. Ausburn's defense attorney, Sumner Parker, asked the judge to allow his client to be released on the five months of time he's served since his arrest.

"My client exercised a great deal of poor judgment that night," Mr. Parker said. "My client is quite possibly lucky in even standing here today. The officers showed a great deal of restraint."

After listening to arguments from both sides, Judge Ignelzi postponed sentencing to await a full evaluation of Mr. Ausburn.

"I'm assuming you have an alcohol problem?" the judge asked.

"Yes, sir," Mr. Ausburn answered.

He has twice been charged with driving under the influence before the current case against him.

"Mr. Parker, you're very good at what you do, but you're not selling this court that five months is enough," Judge Ignelzi said. "The question is, how much more does he need?"

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Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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