City man leads police on chase

An Altoona man is accused of taking police on a 15-mile chase from Altoona to Tyrone.

Ronald H. Yerty, 42, of 719 Sixth Ave. allegedly tried to outrun police just after 3 a.m. Sunday when he was approached by an Altoona police patrolman who spotted Yerty sitting in his silver Chevrolet Cobalt in a parking lot on 300 block of Fifth Avenue, police said.

According to arrest papers, Yerty had parked his car in the middle of the parking lot with the vehicle’s lights turned off. When the officer, who noted Yerty’s wasn’t in a parking space, pulled into the lot, Yerty turned on the car’s lights and sped off down Fifth Avenue. Police said Yerty ignored the pursuing officer and drove down Fifth Avenue at a high rate of speed before turning onto Lloyd Street without stopping at the stop sign.

Yerty ran a red light as he turned the car onto Pleasant Valley Boulevard from East Walton Avenue, where he had switched off the car’s headlights, and drove north as officers from Logan Township, Tyrone and the state police pursued, police said.

Yerty allegedly hit speeds of more than 100 mph down Old Route 220 as he blew past officers who set up staging areas in his path of travel.

In Tyrone, Yerty continued driving at high speeds down Washington Avenue and onto West 10th Street, police said, but lost control at the junction of Route 453. Police said Yerty’s car slid on gravel at the stop sign, struck a guardrail and rolled across Route 453 and into a ditch.

Police allege Yerty was visibly drunk and smelled of alcohol. Police said Yerty already has a prior conviction for driving under the influence on a suspended license and was taken to UPMC Altoona via ambulance for treatment of his injuries and a blood test.

When asked how much he had to drink, Yerty allegedly told police, “A lot.”

Yerty was arraigned on felony fleeing police and misdemeanor driving under the influence and driving under the influence while on a DUI suspended license along with a laundry list of traffic violations that include reckless driving, careless driving, driving without lights to avoid arrest and speeding.

Yerty was jailed Sunday by Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller, who set bail at $30,000 cash. A preliminary hearing is slated for Oct. 16 at Central Court before Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey Auker.