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Man in SUV flees from police, abandons vehicle in Mt. Pleasant

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Police escort a vehicle abandoned by a suspect in a chase that fled on foot with a young child on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 near Grace Veterinary Clinic in East Huntingdon. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
A still from a surveillance video showing a suspect who abandoned a vehicle after a chase and fled on foot with a young child on October 9, 2012 near Grace Veterinary Clinic in Mount Pleasant. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

State police in Westmoreland County Tuesday pursued a sport utility vehicle that may have been stolen and later ditched in East Huntingdon by a man seen on a surveillance video carrying a young child.

Police said a man in a red Ford Expedition was driving at a high rate of speed on Route 119 — at times going the wrong way — and crossed over several median ravines on the highway before he abandoned the vehicle in a driveway adjacent to the Grace Veterinary Clinic just outside of Mt. Pleasant.

Police said the man drove erratically before leaving the vehicle and fleeing on foot. The video surveillance provided to police by Dr. John O'Laughlin of Grace shows the suspect walking calmly from the scene with a young child in tow.

Police did not, however, release information as to why they were chasing the suspect in the first place.

Justin Himes, who lives next to the clinic, said police searched his house for the suspect moments after the chase.

“They (police) told me the (suspect) was driving the wrong way on Route 119,” Himes said. “They said the vehicle had been stolen.”

Himes said police told him the suspect was a black man who was driving the SUV, which had chrome wheels. Himes said police told him the child was 2 years old, but police did not explain the relationship of the child and the suspect.

Police did not release additional information Tuesday night.

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