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Eyewitnesses describe dramatic police chase in Berks

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 14 2013 09:34:19 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 15 2013 11:16:35 AM CST

Several drivers on interstate 176 witnessed the dramatic five minute pursuit.

CAERNARVON TWP., Pa. -

Several drivers on Interstate 176 witnessed the dramatic 5-minute police pursuit of a tractor trailer Thursday morning.

They saw a trooper hanging off of the truck and heard multiple gunshots as the chase was unfolding. Witnesses said it was both shocking and frightening that something like that would happen in Berks County.

Scott Cannariato was on his way to work in Wyomissing when he captured dramatic video of multiple police cruisers chasing the flatbed truck north on I-176 toward Reading.

"I did not know what the sound was, but then when I started hearing multiple shots, it sounded like a gun battle," said Cannariato, who did not realize he was witnessing a police chase.

It all started when truck driver Harold Augustus Davis Jr. was stopped at a routine traffic stop. That then led to the pursuit with a trooper hanging off the side of Davis's semi, which was traveling about 30 mph, surrounded by police cruisers trying to stop him.

"I just heard a lot of gunshots. You know, 'pop pop pop.' I mean 15-20 shots, and it was frightening. I mean, on that road-nothing happens on that road. And I just could not believe what I saw," said Cannariato.

State Police said one of the pursuing officers managed to get his cruiser in front of the truck to slow it down while another officer fired shots at its tires.

The truck rammed the police cruiser twice and eventually veered out of control and hit a guardrail. That's when the trooper hanging on the side was able to jump off safely.

Witnesses said they then saw Davis exit from the passenger side, jump the guardrail and take off into the woods. Several police officers followed.

"It happened pretty fast. It was five minutes but it seemed like forever. So it was pretty frightening," said Cannariato.

"It was really crazy. I did not believe it was real. I could not believe what I was seeing. It was nuts," said witness Anthony Buskirk.

Again witnesses said this was a surreal moment and they hope police catch the driver soon.