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Fayette man taunts police atop ATV

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Fayette County man riding an ATV led police on a 36-minute chase at speeds of up to 80 mph over sidewalks and into oncoming lanes of traffic before he made an obscene gesture toward the officers and disappeared down a dirt road, according to a criminal complaint.

Henry “CJ” Clay Jackson, 24, of 438 Clover St., Brownsville, is charged by Redstone Police Sgt. Norman Howard with fleeing and eluding, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, driving on sidewalks, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, speeding, operating an ATV on a street or highway, operating an ATV at an unsafe speed, driving without a license and failure to have liability insurance.

In a police affidavit, Howard said he was patrolling on Route 166 at 6:05 p.m. Feb. 11 when he saw Jackson washing a white quad in a car wash at Buzzy's Mini Mart in Republic. Howard stopped his patrol car in a parking lot across the street to meet with another Redstone officer, Troy Rice.

As the two officers were exiting the lot, Howard saw Jackson slowly pull out of the car wash and into the northbound lane of Route 166.

“Jackson looked directly at me and deliberately revved the ATV engine as if to challenge me,” Howard wrote in the affidavit.

Howard activated his emergency lights and siren for Jackson to stop, but Jackson sped up and drove toward the rear of Rice's patrol car, which was in front of Howard's car.

Rice turned onto Main Street, but the ATV traveled through a gravel lot and headed directly toward Rice's car, “causing Officer Rice to take evasive action to avoid being struck by the ATV,” Howard wrote.

Jackson drove the ATV on sidewalks in Republic's business district, where several pedestrians were present, Howard said in the affidavit. Jackson then “accelerated at a very high rate of speed” along Main Street and into Luzerne Township.

With Howard in pursuit, Jackson drove the ATV at speeds up to 80 mph through residential neighborhoods, according to the affidavit.

He drove in the oncoming lanes of traffic on Zubak and East Riverside roads before heading onto a dirt road, according to the affidavit.

“I observed Jackson turn around toward this officer and hold up his middle finger as he continued to flee,” Howard wrote. “Jackson continued to drive the ATV in a reckless manner onto a muddy dirt road, to where this officer was unable to pursue further due to the poor terrain conditions.”

Howard filed the charges on Friday. Jackson was arraigned early Tuesday morning before on-call District Judge Wendy Dennis of North Union and is free after posting a $25,000 bond.

Jackson is to appear before Redstone District Judge Mike Defino for a preliminary hearing on March 18.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media.

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