A Washington C.H. man pleaded guilty recently in Fayette County Common Pleas Court to leading police officers on a vehicle pursuit on Christmas Eve.
Bryan Lee Clark, 38, of 1211 S. Hinde St., entered a guilty plea April 16 to the sole count in the grand jury indictment: failure to comply with order or signal of police officer, a third-degree felony. As part of the charge, the grand jurors found that “the operation of the motor vehicle created a substantial risk of serious physical harm to persons or property.”
For a felony of the third degree, the maximum sentence that may be imposed is nine months to three years in prison and a maximum aggregate fine of $10,000. Clark’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 10 at 8:30 a.m.
Just after 1 a.m. on Dec. 24, 2018, a Washington C.H. Police Department officer observed a vehicle, driven by a man later identified as Clark, heading southbound on South Fayette Street near East Elm Street. As the vehicle passed the police cruiser, the officer noticed that the vehicle’s exhaust was defective as it was emitting a loud and unusual noise and noxious fumes, according to reports.
After the vehicle passed, Clark made an abrupt left turn into an alley and rapidly accelerated toward South North Street. The officer initially lost sight of the vehicle, but then saw it heading northbound on North North Street and then turn onto Second Street.
The officer got behind the suspect and activated his overhead emergency lights and siren — at which time Clark failed to stop at the stop sign at Second and Sycamore streets. According to reports, Clark continued to elude the officer and ran stop signs at Third and South North streets, and then at South North and East Elm streets, where his vehicle nearly collided with another vehicle on East Elm.
Clark then continued onto East Elm and went partially left of center at the South Fayette Street intersection, failing to stop for the red light, police said.
He continued southbound on South Fayette before making a right turn onto Kennedy Avenue and going left of center. Clark ran two more stop signs at Kennedy and South Main, then at Kennedy and South Hinde.
The pursuit ended when Clark brought his vehicle to a stop in his driveway at 1211 S. Hinde St., according to reports. Clark and his passenger were taken into custody without incident.
Clark reportedly told police that his “throttle was stuck” when asked why he didn’t comply.
“However, he could not offer an explanation as to why he was able to bring his vehicle to a stop at his house,” the reports said.
After he was taken into custody, it was discovered that Clark’s license was suspended and he had warrants for his arrest out of the Fayette County and Athens County sheriff’s offices.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica