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Theft suspects lead state police on high speed chase

By 69 News, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 12 2014 12:13:58 PM CDT
Pa State Trooper car
SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. -

A Hazleton man is facing charges of trying to escape from police in a wild chase through Schuylkill County Tuesday night.

It all began with an alleged theft reported from the Kohl's store in the Fair Lane Village Mall off Route 61 in Norwegian Twp. around 7 p.m.

Shortly after state police set up to monitor traffic on Interstate 81, the car in question passed the trooper at mile marker 131, heading north.

The trooper -- in his marked vehicle -- began to follow the sedan, and the car immediately exited the interstate at Exit 131 onto Route 54 east.

The officer activated the car siren and lights in an attempt to pull over the car, but the driver sped up, and was able to avoid stop sticksĀ  set up by another trooper, police said.

The driver led police through neighborhood streets in Ryan Twp. and Mahanony Twp. before getting back onto Route 54 into Mahanoy City and turned onto Route 339, police said.

According to a news release, the driver continued into East Union Twp. before losing control on a curve. He hit an embankment and rolled his car.

The driver -- identified as 43-year-old Brian David Shafer and passenger were taken into custody, police said.

Shafer was injured during the crash, and taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Salisbury Twp., Lehigh Co. for treatment.

A police investigation showed Shafer had a felony warrant from state police in Hazleton, and both Shafer and his passenger were wanted in connection with multiple thefts at the Schuylkill Mall in Frackville.

Police planned to file fleeing and eluding police, in addition to other traffic offenses.