Jail escapee sentenced to prison
In this file photo, Rocco John Iacovone is led back to jail following a preliminary hearing this summer.
Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter
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WAYNESBURG – Rocco John Iacovone, 27, of Washington, who was in Greene County jail on charges he led police on a high-speed chase in February, and then escaped from the lockup four months later, was sentenced to 4 ½ to 10 years in prison Thursday.
Judge Farley Toothman imposed a series of consecutive sentences on Iacovone, who has been in Washington County jail since he and homicide suspect Jason W. Roe, 33, of Daisytown, escaped June 22. The two were captured by state police about two hours later at a coal mine about a quarter mile from the prison.
Although he came across as contrite, telling the court what he did was stupid and that he accepted responsibility, Toothman said that did not diminish the severity of the crimes he admitted committing.
Iacovone received an 18-to-48-month sentence on the escape charge, to be served consecutively to an 18-to-36-month sentence for fleeing or attempting to elude police; a consecutive 12-to-24-month sentence for reckless endangerment; and a 6-to-12-month consecutive sentence for resisting arrest, the latter three imposed for the February incident.
Iacovone, who still faces armed robbery charges in Fairmont, W.Va., and in Washington County, led police on a high-speed chase north on Interstate 79 Feb. 13 before his vehicle was forced to a stop by state police near Ruff Creek in Greene County.
The pursuit on Interstate 79 began near Fairmont. Fairmont police said they received an alert at 11:49 p.m. Tuesday about an armed robbery at Go-Mart in nearby White Hall, W.Va., in which the robber fled in a white minivan.
A Fairmont patrolman spotted the vehicle traveling north on Interstate 79 and attempted to stop it. The driver fled.
Fairmont police, assisted by officers with the Marion County, W.Va., Sheriff’s Department, continued the pursuit on Interstate 79, at times hitting speeds of 90 mph.
When Iacovone entered Pennsylvania about midnight, state police here joined the chase.
State police deployed spike strips at the 14-mile marker near Waynesburg, which deflated one of the vehicle’s tires. The vehicle continued north, exited the interstate at the Ruff Creek exit and turned right onto Route 221.
About two-tenths of a mile from the interstate, state police Trooper Joseph Popielarcheck used his car in a “pit maneuver,” bumping the minivan’s bumper with his own in an attempt to stop the vehicle.
Iacovone lost control of the minivan, which overturned on the west side of the road. Iacovone fled on foot, jumping over two fences before he was apprehended by two troopers. Police said they had to use substantial force to overcome his resistance.
Thursday’s sentencing brings to an end a host of continuances in his case. Iacovone had pleaded guilty to the February charges May 8, but his defense counsel continued the original proceeding on June 10. This was the fifth proceeding on this case with prior ones held July 2, Sept. 3, Sept. 11 and Sept. 25.
Toothman ordered Iacovone be taken to the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh for processing and placement in a state prison.