Canton man accused of hitting trooper with vehicle

August 21, 2014
Jay Harris

A Canton Township man faces charges after two troopers were injured trying to take him into custody after a traffic stop Wednesday night.

State police said they spotted Jay Harris, 70, of 1809 Virginia Via, when he failed to use his turn signal to make a left turn from Park Avenue (Route 18) onto Franklin Farms Road in North Franklin Township about 9 p.m. Trooper David Hunt said he then saw the car cross the yellow line and travel partially into the oncoming lane of Franklin Farms.

Harris then made a left turn onto West Chestnut Street (Route 40) again without using a turn signal, police said. Hunt pulled behind the car and activated his emergency lights. Harris reportedly accelerated his vehicle, pulling away from the cruiser.

Police said Harris then turned right onto Ellwood Park Road in Canton Township, where he tried to pass another vehicle on the left, then accelerated over a curb and down an embankment. The car came to a stop against a fence.

Hunt got out of his cruiser and ran down the embankment to the rear of Harris’ car. Police said Harris put the car in reverse and backed up, hitting Hunt in the lower legs. Hunt’s foot became stuck under the car, and he fell backward to the ground. The trooper then hit the emergency call button on his radio, alerting other troopers to his location. Police said the trooper also was yelling at Harris to stop.

Trooper Christopher Campbell arrived and went to the passenger side of Harris’ car, telling him to get out of the vehicle. Harris allegedly refused to get out of the car or comply with Campbell’s orders. Police said Campbell climbed into the car and tried to remove Harris, but he held onto the steering wheel and had to be forcibly removed. Once outside the car, Harris allegedly continued to struggle with Campbell as the trooper tried to place him in handcuffs.

Hunt was freed from under the vehicle and taken to Washington Hospital for treatment. Campbell injured his wrist in the scuffle, police said.

Harris was arraigned before District Judge James Ellis on charges of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, fleeing or attempting to elude police and several traffic violations. He was released on his own recognizance. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 3 before District Judge David Mark.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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