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Man Who Nearly Hit Clarion Borough Police Vehicle to Be Sentenced Tomorrow

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 @ 12:01 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

Dunkle-GAVELCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – An area man who nearly hit a police vehicle in Clarion is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Court documents 56-year-old Douglas Ray Dunkle, of Summerville, is scheduled to be sentenced by President Judge Sara J. Seidle-Patton at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 22, on the following charges:

– Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
– Reckless Driving, Summary

According to court documents, Dunkle pleaded guilty to the above charges on June 6, 2018.

As a result of the plea agreement, the following charges were dismissed:

– Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
– Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Officer, Misdemeanor 2
– Reckless Driving, Summary
– Careless Driving, Summary (two counts)
– Turning Movements And Required Signals, Summary
– Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle, Summary
– Duty of Driver in Emergency Response Areas, Summary

Dunkle is currently free on $10,000.00 unsecured bail.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred in April 2018 in Clarion Borough.

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint, around 5:40 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, 2018, Officer Scheckler was conducting traffic enforcement through the Aggressive Driving Grant campaign, sitting at the University Stadium entrance conducting speed checks on vehicles traveling on First Avenue in Clarion. He timed a speed violater and pursued the vehicle. As he was traveling east from First Avenue onto Main Street, rounding the sharp turn, a white Ford Crown Victoria veered toward the driver’s side of his marked police vehicle, nearly hitting it. Officer Scheckler continued to pursue the other vehicle that was speeding and conducted a traffic stop on the speed violator at Main Street at Keatley Place.

The emergency lights were activated as Officer Scheckler obtained the driver’s information. As he was walking back to his police vehicle, he noticed the same white Ford driving toward his traffic stop. Officer Scheckler then entered his vehicle and observed using his side mirror as the Ford drove approximately six to twelve inches from his vehicle and the stopped vehicle, nearly swiping both vehicles with its passenger side mirror. Since this was the second occurrence within a few minutes, Officer Scheckler believed it may have been intentional and decided to switch his focus. He cleared the traffic stop he had been conducting and pursued the Ford, the complaint states.

Officer Scheckler had both his emergency lights and his siren activated as he pulled behind the Ford at the 5th Avenue intersection, at a red light. When the light changed to green, the Ford pulled over at the intersection of Main Street and Center Place, according to the complaint.

As Officer Scheckler exited his vehicle, the driver of the white Ford opened his driver’s side door. Officer Scheckler pulled his firearm and approached the driver’s door cautiously. He ordered the driver to show his hands. The driver, who was later identified as Douglas Ray Dunkle, complied, and Officer Scheckler holstered his firearm.

When Officer Scheckler asked Dunkle why he was driving so close to the police vehicle, nearly hitting it, Dunkle denied any wrongdoing, the complaint states.

Officer Scheckler then asked for his license, registration, and insurance information, which Dunkle supplied. It was at that time that Officer Scheckler identified Dunkle.

The complaint notes that Officer Scheckler had been involved in another incident with Dunkle recently. On Thursday, March 8, around 9:00 p.m. Officer Dunkle was sitting at a gasoline pump at Sheetz in Clarion when Dunkle exited Sheetz and nearly sideswiped Officer Scheckler’s vehicle. At that time, Officer Scheckler conducted a traffic stop and issued Dunkle a traffic citation for careless driving, which he pleaded guilty. A video recording of the incident is on file, the complaint states.

After receiving Dunkle’s identification, Officer Scheckler returned to his vehicle and contacted Chief Peck. Chief Peck advised Officer Scheckler not to issue a citation and to speak to the District Attorney about the matter.

Officer Scheckler returned to Dunkle and explained that he would be speaking to the District Attorney about possible criminal charges and that everything would be mailed to him.

According to the complaint, Dunkle became argumentative. Officer Scheckler returned his information and cleared him to leave. As Officer Scheckler was returning to his police car, Dunkle yelled, “Go (expletive) yourself” and sped away. Officer Scheckler observed that Dunkle failed to use his turn signal prior to entering the roadway from his parked position and decided to conduct a traffic stop for the infraction.

Officer Scheckler caught up to Dunkle at the intersection of Main Street and 7th Avenue and continued to follow directly behind him, attempting to conduct a traffic stop.

According to the complaint, Dunkle refused to yield or stop, though he had the opportunity to stop in the parking spaces on the south side of Main Street, the Northwest Savings Bank parking lot, the University Korner lot, and along Arnold Avenue.

Officer Scheckler notified Clarion OES that Dunkle was failing to yield and asked them to have Pennsylvania State Police and the on-duty Clarion Borough officer assist him.

The complaint states that Dunkle finally pulled over in the parking lot of the former Dodge dealership. As Dunkle was moving around inside his vehicle and opened his driver’s side door again, Officer Scheckle opted to wait for assistance before approaching. When Officers Kemmer and Wright arrived at the scene, Dunkle exited his vehicle, and Officer Scheckler ordered him to get back in the vehicle. Dunkle complied.

Officer Kemmer then informed Officer Scheckler that Dunkle was on probation. Dunkle’s probation officer and Chief Peck arrived on the scene. The officers viewed the video recording. Officer Scheckler explained that he planned to file criminal charges. Dunkle was then detained at the Clarion County Jail.

He was arraigned at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, April 16, in Magisterial District Judge Duane L. Quinn’s office.


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