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Valley News Dispatch

Police: After nearly hitting officer with car, Arnold man tells them, 'I'm drunk and high'

Madasyn Czebiniak
| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, 1:06 p.m.

Police say an Arnold man nearly hit an officer with a car during a high-speed car chase through three Alle-Kiski Valley municipalities Monday night.

Police allege Robert Maxwell Vining Jr. was drunk and high at the time.

Vining allegedly apologized to the officer for nearly striking him with the car.

“I’m sorry, I’m drunk and high,” he said, according to a criminal complaint.

Vining, 21, faces felony charges of aggravated assault, aggravated assault by vehicle, fleeing or attempting to elude police and drug possession, as well as several driving offenses in connection with the 10:40 p.m. incident.

He remained in the Westmoreland County Prison on Wednesday after failing to post $75,000 bond.

New Kensington Sgt. Kevin Hess was out on patrol Monday at the corner of Haser Drive and Seventh Street in New Kensington when he noticed a car speeding toward Warren Drive, police said. Hess said the car, allegedly driven by Vining, struck a parked vehicle and nearly struck a hillside before it continued driving erratically along Seventh Street, toward Lower Burrell and Upper Burrell.

Hess and another officer began chasing the car, reaching speeds of more than 80 mph, according to a criminal complaint.

The car stopped in Lower Burrell after it fishtailed around a long, righthand curve near Dandyview Drive, according to police. Hess got out of his patrol vehicle and drew his firearm.

Three women got out of the car. Hess told Vining to shut off the car and get out.

Instead, Vining hit the accelerator and nearly struck Hess with the car before speeding off again, police said.

As Hess took the three women into custody, another New Kensington police officer continued pursuing Vining, police said. That officer arrested Vining a short time later at Woodpeckers Pub & Grub in Upper Burrell.

The three women were released and not charged, according to online court records.

Vining was found to be in possession of suspected crack cocaine and marijuana, police said. A bag of suspected powder cocaine also was allegedly found on the driver’s seat.

Police took Vining to Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison for a blood draw, which he initially refused, a criminal complaint said. State police performed an evaluation on Vining, during which he allegedly admitted to drinking alcohol and using marijuana and cocaine prior to driving. Vining agreed to have his blood drawn following the evaluation, and was taken back to the hospital.

Vining is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing before New Kensington District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr. on Jan. 17.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, mczebiniak@tribweb.com, or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

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