An Allegheny County man tried to outrun police early Friday after a heroin delivery, but the law won, police said.
Allen L. Nowlin, 35, of McKees Rocks fled the Walmart parking lot at 2600 W. Plank Road and led police on a 20-mile, high-speed chase. The chase started after Altoona, Allegheny Township and state police swooped in to arrest Nowlin after the alleged sale of 250 packets of heroin to a police informant at 12:51 a.m., police said.
Altoona Detective Sgt. Troy Johannides said Nowlin, who was driving a late-model Dodge Charger, almost hit a patrol car as he sped from the parking lot and once he drove onto Interstate 99, state police took over the pursuit.
The pursuit ended when Nowlin's escape was blocked by spike strips in Ebensburg and police said Nowlin was taken into custody at 1:06 a.m.
Several attempts to use spike strips prior to Ebensburg failed but Nowlin ran out of roadway at Route 22 and Center Street in Ebensburg.
"He would have had to blow his tires or ram someone to get away," Johannides said. "He just gave up."
Johannides praised state police for their handling of the pursuit as well as Cambria County 911 for a "stellar" job keeping officers informed during the chase. What is most important is no one got hurt, Johannides said.
Nowlin, who is on federal parole for drug offenses, also ditched a stolen handgun as he drove down Plank Road, police said. The loaded 9 mm Taurus Millennium was found next to the road, and the handgun's impact had popped out the magazine and several rounds onto the road, police said.
The gun was reported stolen to Pittsburgh police in March.
Police paid $1,300 for the five bricks of heroin, each of the 250 wax packets stamped "The Gold Mine," according to Nowlin's arrest papers. Those packets usually sell for $30 each, giving the heroin a street value of about $7,500, police said.
Officers recovered the $1,300 used in the controlled buy as well as another $1,079 from Nowlin's pockets, police noted.
Nowlin is no stranger to Blair County, having lived here as a juvenile, and his criminal history shows arrests in Blair, Cambria and Allegheny counties as well as the federal conviction on drug charges, Johannides said.
Magisterial District Judge Craig Ormsby arraigned Nowlin on six felonies related to the drugs, stolen gun and police chase as well as a misdemeanor drug possession charge and a summary reckless driving count. Bail was set at $750,000 cash, and Nowlin was lodged in Blair County Prison.
A preliminary hearing is slated for Wednesday at Central Court.
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.