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Valley News Dispatch

Tarentum chase suspect accused of threatening police at courthouse

Chuck Biedka
| Saturday, May 13, 2017, 12:21 p.m.
Maurice Franklin
Courtesy of the Allegheny County Jail
Maurice Franklin

A man accused of refusing to pull over for state police along Route 28 and trying to elude them in Tarentum last fall was free on bond awaiting trial until he allegedly threatened two police officers.

Maurice Alantae Franklin, 24, of Tarentum had a hearing on his charges postponed in Allegheny County court on Thursday.

He could have simply walked out and gone home to await his new hearing date, but instead he is accused of threatening a state trooper and a Tarentum police officer in a courthouse hallway. He is under a court order to stay away from the officers.

A joint state police-U.S. Marshals task force arrested Franklin on the new charges without incident inside a house in the Laneville section of Freeport early Friday, according to state police Sgt. Rocco Russo.

“Franklin made overly aggressive actions toward me and (Tarentum Sgt. Ryan) Hanford, and an assistant district attorney and sheriff deputies saw it,” state police Cpl. Michael Markey said.

Hanford said he was shocked.

“I have been in law enforcement 22 years and I have never been threatened like this,” he said.

Hanford said the assistant district attorney who heard the threats got an arrest warrant for Franklin.

“Any and all threats against members of law enforcement and our office are taken very seriously and treated as such,” said Mike Manko, a spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.

Franklin was in the county courthouse Thursday accused of driving 87 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone along Route 28 in September and then speeding down an exit ramp into Tarentum. Police said he drove to Sixth Avenue, where he jumped from his car and fled on foot.

State police were on the lookout for Franklin that night because they wanted to question him about a robbery in Butler in May 2016.

Franklin's list of original charges includes driving without a license and five other driving offenses in addition to the felony fleeing and eluding charge.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com or on Twitter@ Chuck Biedka.

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