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Marshall man held on charge of trying to hit Lower Burrell police officer

Chuck Biedka
| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

A Marshall man on Tuesday was ordered to stand trial for allegedly trying to run down a Lower Burrell police officer who was trying to arrest him earlier this month.

But the suspect, Brandon Elliot Croyle, 26, asked a district judge to dismiss all charges because he claimed to have “diplomatic immunity.”

Croyle, who is also charged with speeding, drunken driving and a host of other charges from a Jan. 13 incident, also told District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec that he should be freed because said that's what “the people” want.

Croyle represented himself at his preliminary hearing Tuesday, where he entered a not guilty plea. Croyle is free after posting $20,000 bond.

At the hearing, Croyle declined to ask any questions of the arresting officer.

Instead, he read a statement telling Yakopec that he is a “member of the people”; he called on her to “dismiss and expunge” all charges against him “because that is the wish of the people.”

Yakopec thought otherwise.

Minutes earlier, Lower Burrell Patrolman Brendon R. Noll, the alleged victim, was the only person to testify.

Noll testified that he saw Croyle and a passenger in a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria being driven at 68 mph in a 35 mph zone on Route 780, at Nanak Drive, just before 2 a.m.

Noll testified that he followed the car into New Kensington near Valley High School and back onto a nearby two-lane, winding road where it almost collided with an oncoming car before circling back to Route 780.

Noll testified that he caught up with Croyle near Lori Drive in Lower Burrell and when it appeared safe to make a traffic stop, turned on his red lights in a bid to stop him.

Croyle turned into a driveway, but put the car into reverse and backed onto Route 780 toward the police car, Noll testified.

“I was in fear that my car would become a death trap,” Noll testified. “So I got out, went to the rear of my car, pulled my pistol and ordered him to stop.”

Croyle and his passenger, Mark G. Lacava II, 27, of Valencia, stopped, but Noll said they didn't follow orders to keep their hands on their heads and get out of the car.

“Croyle kept yelling at me, ‘Are you a public servant? What is your authority?'” Noll testified.

Two officers arrived. Noll testified that another officer tried to pull Croyle from the car, but Croyle “braced himself and resisted arrest.”

Field sobriety tests couldn't be done on Croyle because of his behavior, according to Noll.Croyle eventually was handcuffed and put in Noll's police car. But he slipped his hands and handcuffs from behind him to in front of him, so police handcuffed him again and shackled his ankles.

Officers noticed that the registration sticker was actually cardboard. And they discovered that Croyle's license was suspended for drunken driving and the license plate on the Crown Victoria belongs on another car.

Noll testified that once Croyle was taken to the New Kensington police holding cell, Croyle refused to cooperate, including taking a breathalyzer test and having blood work drawn.

Police say they found marijuana and related paraphernalia in the car.

In addition to other charges, Croyle faces charges of reckless endangerment and being incapable of safe driving due to alcohol use. He also is charged with driving with a suspended license, having a fake registration sticker, not having insurance and resisting arrest.

Lacava faces numerous charges, among them possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for next month.

‘Dismiss and expunge'

As Croyle read from a statement, he told Yakopec he would refer the case to the “Superior Court of Westmoreland County” if the charges were not dismissed.

The Superior Court is a state appellate court based in Harrisburg. Westmoreland County Court is in Greensburg.

Near the end of his statement, Croyle declared that he has “diplomatic immunity” and that the case doesn't meet terms of “federal court procedure.”

He asked Yakopec if she was sworn to support the federal and state constitutions and if so, why not do what the “people” wanted.

Instead, Yakopec found that there was enough evidence to hold all of the charges against Croyle for court.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or

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