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Police chase lands New Ken man in jail

| Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, 1:48 p.m.
Paul E. Oden II, 55, of Francis Boulevard, New Kensington.

A New Kensington man who led police on a chase Saturday night through Lower Burrell into the Mount Vernon area of New Kensington was shocked with a Taser and arrested.

Paul E. Oden II, 55, of Francis Boulevard was charged with resisting arrest and 14 traffic violations, including running red lights and stop signs and hit-and-run driving.

Police began chasing Oden because a hit-and-run was reported shortly before 8 p.m. on Route 56 near Hillcrest Motors in Lower Burrell, according to court records.

A few minutes later, a Lower Burrell police officer on patrol saw a damaged pickup matching the description of the one involved in the hit-and-run traveling west on Leechburg Road near Michigan Avenue. The driver, later identified as Oden, stopped in the parking lot at Bolts Auto Works, but then fled back on Leechburg Road, heading toward New Kensington.

During the ensuing pursuit, Oden ran several stop signs and reached speeds of 60 mph, according to court records.

According to police: from Leechburg Road, the pursuit continued onto Craigdell Road across the Route 56 Bypass intersection and up Falcon Park Road. The pickup then turned onto Route 780, heading back into New Kensington.

Oden soon turned onto Meade Avenue, according to police, and wound his way onto at least seven streets near and in the Mount Vernon neighborhood.

Along the way, Oden allegedly hit a stone wall in the alley behind the 1300 block of Burrell Avenue, damaging the wall and the pickup's left front tire.

Oden then allegedly crossed over Seventh Street onto Summit Street, apparently not knowing it's a dead-end street.

The pickup then went over an embankment in Summit Street Park.

Oden and a female passenger fled on foot toward a wooded area, according to police.

According to court records, an officer saw Oden reaching into his waistband and feared he was going for a weapon.

The officer fired a Taser, and Oden fell to the ground but, police say, showed no effects from being tased.

No weapon was found on him.

The woman was ordered to the ground at gunpoint, and she and Oden were placed in handcuffs.

Police learned Oden had three outstanding warrants, including two felony fleeing and eluding charges.

Oden was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude police, reckless driving, careless driving, resisting arrest and multiple vehicle offenses. He was arraigned and place in the Westmoreland County jail on $50,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing for Oden is scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 10 before Judge Cheryl Peck-Yakopec.

No charges were known to have been filed against the female passenger.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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