Police: Driver who led Avalon police officers on chase had been drinking, taking drugs
Jonathan Schaeffer of Crafton is escorted after questioning Wednesday afternoon at the Allegeny County police headquarters in Point Breeze. He is believed to be the suspect involved in a chase that injured two Avalon police officers.
A police car hangs over the side of a bridge and into a wooded area off Ohio River Boulevard after it crashed early Tuesday morning during a chase of a suspect.
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Two Avalon Police officers were injured early today when their car crashed while they pursued a man they shot at and who had sped away from them on Ohio River Boulevard.
Allegheny County police, who are investigating the incident, said the two officers were dispatched to the BP Station at 901 Ohio River Blvd. at 3:50 a.m. for a report of a suspicious person. A criminal complaint identified the officers as Sean Kirley and Darcell Bouyer.
They found Jonathan Schaeffer, 23, of Crafton, sitting in a car.
Mr. Schaeffer told detectives that before he parked at the gas station, he took ecstasy, smoked marijuana and went to an Avalon bar with a friend, according to the criminal complaint.
He went to the gas station afterward and was sending text messages to his girlfriend when the officers knocked on his window, startling him, according to the complaint.
He handed his ID to one of the officers but was nervous because he had been drinking, according to the complaint.
Officer Kirley told detectives he and Officer Bouyer could smell marijuana when Mr. Schaeffer rolled down his window. They ordered him to park the car and get out.
Mr. Schaeffer said "he was afraid and did not want to go to jail" so he took off, "at which time the officers started shooting at him," according to the complaint.
Officer Kirley said he saw Officer Bouyer still leaning into the vehicle and believed he was being dragged, prompting him to fire two shots, according to the complaint.
Once he realized Officer Bouyer was not hurt, Officer Kirley returned to their patrol car along with his partner and chased Mr. Schaeffer north on Ohio River Boulevard.
Mr. Schaeffer said he heard the shots. One of the bullets blew out his back window.
The officers lost control of their vehicle and wrecked in the 7200 block of Ohio River Boulevard.
Mr. Schaeffer's car crashed as he tried to get on Interstate 79 South, according to the criminal complaint.
Police found him hiding in shrubbery nearby.
Police charged him with carrying a firearm without a license, assault on a law-enforcement officer, fleeing or attempting to elude a law-enforcement officer, careless driving and reckless endangerment.
The officers did not suffer any major injuries but were admitted to Allegheny General Hospital for observation, according to the criminal complaint.
Mr. Schaeffer was also taken to a hospital to be checked, but was not injured.
He was transported to the Allegheny County police headquarters in Point Breeze to be interviewed by investigators.
First Published September 4, 2012 6:37 am