The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 2, 2013

Police: Driver endangered ‘countless lives’ in chase

Patrick Buchnowski

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown police said the man accused of stealing a pizza delivery vehicle on Monday nearly ran down numerous pedestrians during a tense vehicle chase through the heart of the city.

In a criminal complaint, city police said a man was delivering a pizza at the Solomon Homes public housing project just before noon Monday.

When the deliveryman went inside the building, Edward Malik Johnson, 29, allegedly forced down a broken window of the pizza man’s Chevrolet Cavalier, found the keys inside and then sped away.

“Johnson endangered countless lives as a result of his actions and failed to stop for the police,” the complaint says.

Multiple police vehicles gave chase. Police pursued Johnson on Messenger Street, Ash Street, Grove Avenue, Village Street and Central Avenue.

Johnson sped past Greater Johnstown High School at 60 mph, police said.

Johnson continued on Horner Street to Bedford Street, where a police sergeant had blocked one lane in an effort to slow the driver.

Johnson allegedly drove toward the police cruiser, forcing the sergeant to take evasive action, police said.

Johnson continued driving on Bedford Street, Haynes Street and then Franklin Street in the direction of Memorial Medical Center.

The driver then went onto Akers Street, Edson Avenue, Boyd Avenue and Donna Drive.

Johnson stopped his car only after making a right turn into the parking area of a Penelec substation, which blocked his path, police said.

During the chase, Johnson ran through 10 stop signs and eight red lights, “nearly striking countless citizen vehicles, police vehicles and pedestrian traffic,” police said in the complaint.

Police said Johnson told officers that he was high on heroin and marijuana at the time.

Johnson, whose address was listed as Solomon Homes, was charged with aggravated assault, theft, receiving stolen property, flight to avoid apprehension, simple assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and multiple traffic violations.

He was arraigned by on-call District Judge Max Pavlovich of Richland Township and sent to the Cambria County Prison after failing to post $20,000 bond.

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