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White Oak woman charged in police chase case

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By Braden Ashe
Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, 1:46 a.m.

An Allegheny County woman faces multiple charges after allegedly fleeing from a car last Saturday that led Upper Burrell police on a brief chase and crashed in Lower Burrell.

Sarah Rebecca Ellis, 18, of White Oak was a passenger in a car that Upper Burrell police stopped at about 1 a.m. Saturday in the 1800 block of Greensburg Road.

Police Chief Ken Pate said the car bolted northwest from the Myers Drive intersection after the officer made the traffic stop for suspected drug use. It then crashed into a fence about a mile away near Next Level Athlete in Lower Burrell.

The car's five occupants got out of the car and it caught fire, prompting multiple fire departments to respond.

Ellis was arrested as she tried to flee on foot with three other passengers who escaped, according to Pate. New Kensington, Plum, Murrysville and Lower Burrell police assisted Saturday in an hourlong, unsuccessful search for the suspects.

The chief could not provide a description of the three people who eluded police.

The fifth occupant, a woman whom police would not identify, was taken to a hospital by ambulance for injuries suffered in the crash. Pate was unable to provide details on the nature or severity of her injuries.

She has not been arrested or charged for her involvement in the incident, he said. He would not provide an explanation.

Police did not identify the car's owner. As of Thursday, there were no warrants out for his or her arrest, Pate said.

“It's an ongoing investigation and we're not releasing any more information that could jeopardize the case,” Pate said. “It's a time-consuming process, given that there's several people involved. That's the way these cases go.”

Ellis' case is scheduled to be heard Feb. 2 by District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec on charges of attempted escape, resisting arrest, public drunkenness and purchase of alcohol by a minor. She is not being detained.

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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