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Route 119 chase suspect sought

| Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

State police in Greensburg are looking for a man who led police on an eight-mile, high-speed chase Tuesday night.

At about 3:40 p.m., a trooper attempted to pull over a Ford Expedition for an equipment violation near the interchange of Route 119 and Interstate 70 near New Stanton, Trooper Steve Limani said Wednesday.

“When he was attempting to initiate a traffic stop, the vehicle took off and proceeded to lead officers in a high-speed pursuit that was extremely dangerous, especially because of the time of day,” Limani said.

The sport utility vehicle drove the wrong way down an exit ramp and crossed median ravines along Route 119 four times before police called off the chase, Limani said. The vehicle was later abandoned behind a home on Route 31 in Mt. Pleasant Township.

A bald black man got out of the vehicle, took a toddler out of the backseat and walked away, witnesses told police. Surveillance footage obtained from Grace Veterinary Clinic near Mt. Pleasant Borough shows a man walking with a child in that area, but police have not confirmed he is the driver of the SUV.

A woman later reported to police that she picked up a man carrying a child who was walking along Route 31 and took them to an intersection in Uniontown. The woman told police she had little conversation with the man.

Troopers want to speak with the owner of the red Eddie Bauer Expedition, Lavaughn Hinton, who has addresses in Pittsburgh and Uniontown, and anyone who witnessed the chase or later events.

“Anyone witnessing this could be directly related to being a victim due to the danger involved in this pursuit,” Limani said. “We'd like to talk to them and find out what they remember.”

Anyone with information should call state police in Greensburg at 724-832-3288.

Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or jphraner@tribweb.com.

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