Police Pursuit Leads to Charges for New Bethlehem Man
Court documents indicate Clarion-based State Police filed criminal charges against 27-year-old Michael Frank Zmuda on April 26.
According to a criminal complaint, around 1:02 p.m. on April 23, Clarion-based State Police were monitoring traffic on State Route 66, in Limestone Township, Clarion County, when they observed a black Mustang traveling south in the northbound lane passing a gray SUV.
Radar showed the Mustang was traveling 97 miles per hour in a posted 55 mile per hour zone. Police then activated their emergency lights and siren and attempted to catch up to the Mustang to initiate a traffic stop, the complaint states.
The troopers traveled approximately two miles before catching up to the Mustang.
According to the complaint, the Mustang then passed another vehicle on the left in a no-passing zone and turned left onto Church Hill Road, going over 60 miles per hour on the gravel roadway. He then turned right onto Hickory Ridge without using a turn signal.
The vehicle turned right from Hickory Ridge onto Middle Run Road, then left onto Idle Road. The pursuit was terminated in the area of Town Run Road. Police continued north on Town Run Road and then saw the same Mustang passing a tri-axle truck just prior to Truittsburg Road. It reportedly “took off” at a high rate of speed and quickly sped out of sight.
Clarion-based State Police, Punxsutawney-based State Police, and officers from the New Bethlehem Police Department searched the area in an attempt to locate the Mustang and also went to the address listed on the vehicle’s registration, the complaint states.
Police spoke to the owner of the vehicle at her residence around 1:42 p.m.
The owner of the vehicle told police that Michael Zmuda had her vehicle at the time of the pursuit, according to the complaint.
Zmuda was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey C. Miller at 2:15 p.m. on April 27 on the following charges:
– Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Officer, Felony 3
– Resist Arrest/Other Law Enforcement, Misdemeanor 2
– Exceed 55 MPH In Other Loc By 42 MPH, Summary
– Driving at Safe Speed, Summary
– Careless Driving, Summary
– Passing Where Prohibited, Summary
– Reckless Driving, Summary
– Improper Sunscreening, Summary
– Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle, Summary
– Turning Movements And Required Signals, Summary
Unable to post $50,000.00 monetary bail, he was lodged in the Clarion County Jail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. on May 4 with Judge Miller presiding.
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