HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — 48-year-old Wade Meisberger from Indiana is the man behind the police chase and deadly standoff that ended in Hazleton Monday night.
Police shot him after negotiations failed and he fired multiple shots at officers. Meisberger was initially wanted for a homicide probation violation. He took off in the tractor-trailer after a traffic stop by U.S. Marshals.
He led police on a chase through Schuylkill, Carbon, and Luzerne Counties. Officials eventually caught up to Meisberger after he got stuck in mud. The standoff is still under investigation. As Eyewitness News found out Tuesday, this wasn’t Meisberger’s first run-in with the law.
After a tense stand-off, 48-year-old Wade Russell Meisberger’s long run from the law came to an end shortly after 9 p.m. Monday night at a park in Hazleton.
“He did not come out. It was like hours and hours of trying to talk to him and it did not work,” witness Yamilat Tineo said.
Earlier that day he fled U.S. Marshals. He was wanted for violating a homicide probation, a homicide that happened in Indiana in 1991. According to the Associated Press, the then-19-year-old Meisberger was convicted of killing his childhood best friend.
A newsletter from the Indiana Department of Corrections says before his arrest, Meisberger was featured on a 1992 episode of America’s Most Wanted. Once located, he was sentenced to 48 years for murder. His sentence was reduced and he was released in early 2007.
But in 2012 he was back in prison for violating probation. The Associated Press reported that in June 2012 officers responded to reports of a man jumping off a Kentucky bridge, where they found a note and Meisberger’s driver’s license.
He later posted several videos to YouTube about being alive and hiding from authorities. He was arrested in July 2012. He was back in prison again in 2018, but this time as a guest speaker, talking about his recovery and success.
State police confirmed this is the same man who was killed on Monday. At this point we don’t know what led the man who once spoke of redemption to refuse to surrender and fire at state troopers.
Law enforcement used a number of negotiation tactics to try and coax Meisberger out of the cab. Witnesses who were locked down closer to the scene tell us they heard officers talking to him for hours, trying to come to a peaceful resolution.
They kept coaching him, telling him to get out of the car, put his gun down. They kept bringing up his family and that they were worried about him, and he kept shooting at them. It was really bad,” Tineo said.
According to the AP, Meisberger had seven years of probation left.