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Police catch up with Clarion County fugitive in Fawn

| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 1:51 a.m.

A fugitive desperate to avoid arrest abandoned his 6-year-old son with the Fawn police officer who had stopped his vehicle.

Ryan Snyder, 34, of Mayport, Clarion County sparked a 90-minute search by police from at least five communities.

It was suspended just before 10 p.m. because darkness hampered the search along a thickly wooded hillside between Tour-Ed Mine and Bull Creek Road in Fawn.

But Snyder was apprehended around 11:45 p.m. as he tried to hitch a ride along Ridge Road.

The incident began when Fawn Patrolman Jeffrey Mravintz pulled a Subaru Forester over along Ridge Road shortly after 8 p.m.

“I was actually sitting at Ridge Road and Bull Creek,” Mravintz said. “He came by and the car was on fire underneath.”

Mravintz said the car, driven by Snyder, did not immediately pull over, but finally stopped near the entrance to Tour-Ed Mine.

He said they got Snyder's 6-year-old son out of the vehicleand Snyder crawled underneath the car to smother the flames with a rag.

According to Mravintz, he called Allegheny County 911 and did a routine check on the vehicle's registration and the driver's license.

“We started running his information and he gave me the wrong name,” Mravintz said. “Then he confirmed his name, and we determined there was a warrant out for him.”

Mravintz said shortly after midnight today he did not immediately have all the information on the charges Snyder is wanted for, but they included drug charges and charges regarding stolen property.

The information also stated said that Snyder was considered violent, he said.

Mravintz said he was standing with the boy while Snyder made a call on his cell phone.

Snyder supposedly was trying to arrange for a ride but bolted on foot toward the Tour-Ed Mine property.

Initially, the police thought he might have run into the mine but a search failed to locate him.

They then focused on the hillside, at one point even shutting down Bull Creek Road from Ridge Road to Howes Run Road to aid the search, but it was called off a short time later.

According to Mravintz, Snyder was calling relatives on his cell phone while he eluded police. Police attempted to track the phone but were unsuccessful.

The boy was taken to the Fawn Fire Hall No. 2 until a representative from Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families Services arrived to take custody.As he waited in Fire Chief Al Ewing's office, the boy could be heard asking, “Did they find my Daddy yet?”

Mravintz said the boy was taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to be checked out and would be placed in a temporary shelter at least for the night.

Meanwhile, when police heard that a man was hitch-hiking along Ridge Road, they checked it out and found it was Snyder.

Police said he fled down a dark driveway of a house in the 4500 block and then turned and started going after the pursuing officers.

“He was ready for a fight,” one officer said.

But he didn't get one — police used a Taser to subdue him when it appeared he would not surrender peacefully.

Snyder was being taken to Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison for treatment of a head injury.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or tyerace@tribweb.com.

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