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Motorist helps troopers arrest man near Route 22

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Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, 5:03 p.m.

A passing motorist helped state troopers arrest a fugitive Thursday who ran through traffic on Route 22 to flee police.

Trooper Paul Brown pulled over a Saturn car speeding in New Alexandria at 10:15 a.m. and found that the driver, Christopher James Handte, 24, of York, was wanted on a bench warrant for failing to appear for a revocation hearing in Clearfield County on theft charges, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

When Brown asked Handte to turn off the ignition, Handte allegedly drove a short distance into a parking lot near the intersection with Route 981 and ran across Route 22 in front of traffic. Two troopers pursued him on foot through a Sheetz parking lot and into nearby woods.

A passer-by watching the scene unfold got out of his vehicle and “held” the suspect until troopers could arrest him, according to the affidavit. Handte is being held in the Westmoreland County jail in lieu of $30,000 bail on charges of escape, flight to avoid apprehension, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, fleeing or attempting to elude police and speeding. A preliminary hearing before Derry Township District Judge Mark Bilik is scheduled Jan. 8.

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