Police: Man drunk, high on meth leads cops on nearly hour-long chase through two counties


The man, who had a hitchhiker in the car, also struck a deer during the pursuit, police say

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A man is in custody and facing a multitude of charges after police say he led them on a high-speed chase through 2 counties and at least a dozen towns in a stolen vehicle.

Bernard McDonald, 50, of West Pittston was arrested after a 50-minute pursuit that spanned the Wyoming Valley and beyond, according to court papers.

Police say it all started Wednesday just after 1:30 a.m. when McDonald was driving a gray Toyota sedan along North Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre when an officer ran the license plate. According to police, the car was reported stolen out of Scranton.

Court papers state that McDonald pulled into the Turkey Hill parking lot and stopped at the gas pumps. The Wilkes-Barre police officer approached McDonald as he exited the store and returned to the vehicle, the officer reported.

The officer stated when McDonald noticed the officer’s patrol car with its lights on, he got back in the car, which had another person in the passenger seat. The officer had drawn his gun and ordered McDonald out of the vehicle. McDonald then reportedly took off on North Wilkes-Barre Boulevard at a high rate of speed.

Police say McDonald traveled to Hazle Street and entered Ashely Borough where he made several attempts to hit a police vehicle that was part of the pursuit.

The pursuit is then said to have left Ashley Borough and continued on to Interstate 81 northbound where the chase reached speeds of 100 mph. The court papers state PSP Wilkes-Barre then joined the pursuit near MM 171.

Police say they followed McDonald as he left the highway at Exit 175 where he continued south on Route 315 and turned on to Oak Street in Pittston Township. After traveling at a high rate of speed on North Township Boulevard, police say McDonald then continued on through several streets in the City of Pittston and into Jenkins Township on South Main Street.

From there, police say McDonald traveled on River Street to Route 309 before passing through Trucksville. Dallas Borough, Kingston Township, Dallas Township and Jackson Township were all notified.

Police say the vehicle then went onto Hillside Road to Chase Road before continuing onto Huntsville Road and Lower Demunds Road in the Back Mountain region of the Wyoming Valley.

Police say while near a series of “S” turns near the 3000 block of Lower Demunds Road, Mcdonald struck a deer crossing the road near Beagle Lane.

PSP Tunkhannock was notified and took the lead in the chase due to the Wilkes-Barre officer’s cruiser overheating.

PSP continued pursuing McDonald in the area of Bluegrass Road and onto Route 29. While on Route 29, PSP unsuccessfully attempted to conduct a PIT (Pursuit Immobilization Technique) maneuver which caused the police vehicle to swerve from the roadway, almost hitting a building.

Other local police units were able to flatten the vehicle’s two front tires by using spike strips. This allowed a PSP cruiser to conduct another PIT maneuver, disabling the car after a 50-minute pursuit.

Police say they took McDonald and his passenger into custody where McDonald resisted arrest.

McDonald was transported to an area hospital. During the transport, court papers state McDonald admitted to the officer that he was “under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine”. Police say McDonald also had multiple warrants out for his arrest.

Police then interviewed the passenger, who told them McDonald had picked him up on the San Souci Parkway in Hanover Township where he was walking after a fight with his girlfriend. The passenger said McDonald offered him a ride and he accepted because “it was cold”.

After traveling to several locations in the Wyoming Valley, the victim told police McDonald noticed the Wilkes-Barre officer following them on North Washington Street and “became paranoid”, stating he was “in all types of (expletive)” and that he’d go to jail for a long time if caught.

The witness also related to police that McDonald was drinking beer and smoking cigarettes during the pursuit.

McDonald is facing charges including, but not limited to aggravated assault, receiving stolen property, resisting arrest, DUI and reckless driving.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Top Video

More Top Video

Latest Videos