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Escapee led police on long chase before capture

White allegedly drove at high speeds, through back yards

White

CLEARFIELD — Prior to his capture, a man who escaped from the Clearfield County Jail reportedly led police on a long chase during which he drove through a yard near an above ground swimming pool with people in it.

Donald John White, 46, had been incarcerated on kidnapping, unlawful restraint, terroristic threats and assault charges in one case, and terroristic threats, assault and harassment in a second, when he and Robert Miller Jr., left the grounds on May 30 while on grass cutting detail.

On Wednesday during centralized court, White waived his preliminary hearing on felony charges of fleeing or attempting to elude police, as well as misdemeanor counts of flight to avoid apprehension, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, recklessly endangering another person, intentional possession of a controlled substance and numerous summaries in relation to that chase on June 17 in Huston Township, Clearfield County.

According to the affidavit, police were dispatched to Penfield because they had received information that White, who was allegedly armed and ready to fire on police, was going to be in that area in a black Nissan Sentra.

After he was spotted in the passenger side of the vehicle, a trooper tried to stop the car. The driver jumped out and White reportedly moved into the driver’s seat.

White fled on Route 255 and a chase continued for seven miles into Elk County.

Additional troopers joined with speeds going “well over 100 mph” while White allegedly passed numerous vehicles and oncoming traffic was forced off the road to avoid head-on collisions.

“White even passed on blind curves, nearly colliding with numerous unsuspecting motorists,” according to the criminal complaint.

Near Weedville, a trooper deployed spike strips, which caused the vehicle’s tires to slowly start deflating.

Police said he tried to continue to evade them by driving left onto Hemlock Street in Jay Township and then driving through residential yards.

At one point, he drove at a reportedly high speed, through a yard with an above ground swimming pool with people in it.

A trooper was able to use the precision immobilization technique, which caused White to drive down a high grass covered embankment. The vehicle became disabled, and White left it to run on foot.

Eventually White ran into the side of another police vehicle that was positioned to stop him.

An electronic incapacitation device was used to try to slow White down.

Three troopers then physically restrained him as he allegedly refused to be handcuffed. Once in custody, he was reportedly found to have a small amount of methamphetamine in his pocket.

During the chase, three state police vehicles were damaged, according to the report.

White was also in court on Thursday to be sentenced by Judge Paul Cherry for a previously negotiated plea agreement, which would give him a four-month jail sentence in exchange for him pleading guilty to only terroristic threats in both of his original cases.

Assistant District Attorney Steven Johnston stated that the commonwealth wanted to withdraw that agreement because White now has several other cases pending.

Cherry allowed the plea to be withdrawn.

Those additional cases include the fleeing case, his escape charges, theft for stealing a motorcycle in Bigler Township while he was on the run, an additional kidnapping, strangulation, terroristic threats, simple assault, false imprisonment and more in relation to his actions with the same victim as the other kidnapping case on Jan. 3, and an additional case in Jefferson County.

The other escapee, Miller, was located at his daughter’s home in Clearfield on June 26.

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