HOLLIDAYSBURG - A Tipton man has been ordered to pay $45,000 for the damage he caused in March when he drove a car into the Tipton post office following a night of domestic turmoil.
Patrick Wayne Leeper Jr., 25, of Tipton also was sentenced by Blair County Judge Daniel J. Milliron to six to 23 months in the Blair County Prison for criminal mischief.
The drama unfolded on March 4 when a woman with whom Leeper was living discovered a text message on his phone asking, "Did you get one?"
She inferred that the query was about drugs, which would have been a violation of Leeper's parole. He had been released two weeks earlier from a
community corrections center in Pittsburgh.
The two began to argue.
She told police that he put her Xanax pills in his mouth and then crushed other pills on a table.
The two spent the night with a friend, but the next day, the
argument resumed while in her car.
She said Leeper took her wallet and money, twisted her arm, choked her, took the keys to her car and drove around the yard of their home.
Leeper then said he was going to drive to the Tipton Reservoir to take his life.
According to a police affidavit, Leeper drove into the Tipton post office building, 663 Forest St., and then fled on foot to a nearby railroad line and into the woods.
State police Trooper Craig Grassmyer apprehended him in the woods.
Leeper, when question by the trooper, said he took eight of his girlfriend's Xanax the night before the crash.
He denied choking her, but he confirmed he was traveling to
the Tipton Reservoir to kill himself.
He had only recently been released from a state prison term for a parole violation.
In 2006, he had been sentenced to four to eight years in prison for robbery.
Leeper agreed to plead to criminal mischief, driving under the influence, recklessly endangering another person and driving without a license.
Milliron ordered Leeper to pay $2,200 in fines, in addition to the $45,000 restitution he owes for the damage to the post office.