54° F

Man who crashed car into store faces long list of charges

Published On: Aug 06 2014 10:05:06 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 08 2014 06:50:14 PM EDT

Driver identified in wild ride in Bethlehem


Police have released more information about a man who stole an SUV and crashed it into a tobacco store in Bethlehem last week.

It all started on Thursday when a vehicle reported stolen around 4:30 a.m. was spotted in the Marvin-Pembroke housing area in Bethlehem around 8:45 a.m.

The driver, identified as 23-year-old Miguel Angel Ortiz Jr., of 220 W. Third Street in Bethlehem, initally told police the SUV belonged to his uncle.


When police tried to pull over the SUV, Ortiz sped up and led officers on a wild chase before crashing the vehicle into the Cigar & Cigarette Outlet building at 2158 Stefko Blvd.

Ortiz was found in a nearby neighbor's yard.

While taking Ortiz into custody, an officer asked if he had anything on his possession, and Ortiz said no.

When the officer put his hand into Ortiz's right front pants pocket, he was struck by an open hypdermic needle, police said.

According to the criminal complaint, Ortiz was taken to St. Luke's Hospital where he tested positive for 'a serious communicable disease.'

There's no word on what that disease is, or whether the officer was tested for it.

Ortiz was charged with aggravated assault, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, fleeing/eluding police, possession of drug paraphernalia, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, and related charges.

Ortiz was taken to the Northampton County Prison after being unable to post $20,000 bail.

His next court appearance is set for July 18.