Two face charges in chase that started in South Strabane

Two Washington residents face charges after a chase Wednesday afternoon that started in the parking lot of the Old Mill in South Strabane and ended in a crash off an Interstate 70 ramp in Eighty Four.

State troopers look through debris from a collision at the intersection of Route 519 and the Interstate 70 West ramp in Eighty Four Wednesday. Photo:Celeste Van Kirk/Observer-Reporter
State troopers look through debris from a collision at the intersection of Route 519 and the Interstate 70 West ramp in Eighty Four Wednesday. Photo:Celeste Van Kirk/Observer-Reporter
State troopers look through debris from a collision at the intersection of Route 519 and the Interstate 70 West ramp in Eighty Four Wednesday. Photo:Celeste Van Kirk/Observer-Reporter

A Washington man and his passenger face numerous charges after leading police from several agencies on a vehicle chase Wednesday through five municipalities that ended in a crash on a ramp of Interstate 70 in Somerset Township.

John Dustin Donley, 26, of 964 Jefferson Ave., and Julie Lynn Maynard, 32, of 123 Church St., both face charges, state police said. Donley was identified as the driver and Maynard was the passenger.

Julie Lynn Maynard 

The incident began about 3:30 p.m. when South Strabane police Officer John Beckus stopped a pickup truck driven by Donley after noticing improper license plates on it. The truck had a license plate registered to a different vehicle and there was an arrest warrant for the owner of the plate, identified as Donley.

The driver of the vehicle identified himself as Albert Donley and provided a date of birth. He then said he was purchasing the vehicle from his brother.

Beckus returned to his cruiser to confirm the story. Within a short period, South Strabane Officer Keith Zenkovich also arrived on scene and within seconds, Donley started the truck and fled south on Route 19 before getting on I-70 west to Interstate 79 north. He got off the Canonsburg exit at Weavertown Road and got back on Route 19 south.

Donley reportedly went through a red light at Meadowbrook Drive before turning onto Racetrack Road, continuing to go through red lights. He allegedly went through another red light, turning left on Pike Street before getting back on I-79 south to I-70 east. An unsuccessful attempt was made by state police to stop him using stop strips at the Eighty Four exit. South Strabane police then backed off the pursuit.

At one point, Donley entered I-70 at Dunningsville and traveled west in the eastbound lanes along the shoulder. He exited at Route 519 and attempted to re-enter the highway. When Donley tried to get back on the interstate, Trooper Michael Piscitelli used a marked state police sport utility vehicle to crash into the truck, forcing it over a hillside on the ramp from Route 519 to I-70 west, where it overturned. Police said speeds during the pursuit nearly reached 100 mph.

Both Donley and Maynard were taken to Washington Hospital with injuries. Donley was later transferred to UPMC-Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh.

Police said Maynard told police she knew Donley was wanted and that he had given the South Strabane officer a false name. Police added at no time did Maynard attempt to alert law enforcement or try to get out of the vehicle when the ignition was turned off.

Police obtained a warrant Thursday from District Judge Jay Weller charging Donley with causing or risking a catastrophe, reckless endangerment, fleeing or attempting to elude police, flight to avoid apprehension, resisting arrest, unauthorized transfer or use of registration, reckless driving and other traffic violations.

Maynard was arraigned Thursday morning before District Judge James Ellis on charges of hindering apprehension and four counts of criminal conspiracy. She was placed in Washington County jail on $10,000 bond. She faces a Sept. 19 preliminary hearing before Weller.

Donley is also facing charges of burglary, theft and receiving stolen property filed last month by Washington police. He is accused of stealing a flat screen television, Nikon camera, cellphone, coffee maker and $180 from his mother’s Bruce Street home Aug. 6. He faces an Oct. 4 preliminary hearing on those charges before District Judge Robert Redlinger.

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