Citizen in Pursuit of the Police?

This story from a couple of years ago was one of the strangest officer reactions to a police situation that I have ever read. I have never heard of another marked law enforcement vehicle being pursued by a citizen through the streets of town as described in the following story.

Even though the involved officer was most likely thinking defensively, I am sure he took some ribbing from his colleagues (like "did you get the suspect to complete an after action pursuit report?"). Mentally unstable people make for many sleepless nights for officers and the general public.

This was printed on 11/17/2006 in the Press Enterprise:

A former Penn State student is again in trouble here, this time for allegedly chasing a police cruiser and threatening an officer.

But Jason "Jay" Bundy, 20, a former student council president candidate in State College, says the chase was only an attempt to get directions that went awry. Bundy was in town to defend himself against charges filed in October, when police say he stole from a Lightstreet minimart and then threw a tantrum in a district judge's office. But Bundy couldn't find his way to District Judge Craig Long's office in Catawissa, he said at an arraignment Thursday. Bundy was driving east on Drinker Street in Fernville around 10:45 a.m. when he saw Hemlock Township Cpl. Scott Traugh's marked cruiser.

"I wanted to speak to him to ask for guidance on how to get to 400 Fisher St. in Catawissa," Bundy told District Judge Ola Stackhouse of Millville.

But Hemlock Police Chief Mike Van Dine said, "He did just about everything that someone who wanted to hurt a police officer would do."

'How does it feel?'

Here's what happened, according to court papers filed by police:

Bundy drove a gold minivan "at a high rate of speed with its four-way flashers activated" toward Traugh, trying to get him to stop. When the officer stopped at the intersection of Drinker and Hemlock streets, the van pulled up next to him. Bundy asked Traugh, "How does it feel being chased?" He then said "Just kidding." But Traugh noted Bundy, a black man, and his van matched the description of a suspect and vehicle from an Oct. 14 robbery in Bloomsburg that involved an assault rifle.

Bloomsburg Police say Bundy is not a suspect in that crime.

But at the time, Traugh did not know "if the operator was going to cause harm to him," according to court papers.

So the officer pulled away and contacted the county 9-1-1 center, telling a dispatcher that he was being pursued by a person who matched the description of the recent robber, papers said. Traugh had not been in a position where he could defend himself if the driver of the car had meant to harm him, Van Dine said. "He was trying to get in a better position."

Chase through town

Traugh drove down Drinker Street to Bloom Street and then crossed a bridge onto Railroad Street into Bloomsburg, court papers say. Bundy followed.

After crossing Main Street, Traugh took Railroad Street to Fifth Street, and Bundy followed at a high rate of speed, police said.

Traugh then took Fifth Street to Market Street. Heading down Market Street in the area of Town Park, Bundy tried to pass Traugh on the right, with his driver's-side window rolled down, papers say.

"If you were trying to shoot a police officer, you wouldn't shoot through a window," VanDine said.

Traugh stayed in front of Bundy's van and swung right onto Fort McClure Boulevard, where Bundy continued to follow Traugh "at an excessive speed," court papers say.

By that time, Bloomsburg and State Police cars had gathered at the end of Fort McClure near its intersection with Route 11. They took Bundy into custody without incident, Van Dine said.

Van Dine said police found a cap gun in Bundy's pocket.

On meds

In court later, Bundy said he had recently been discharged from a 20-day involuntary commitment at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

He said he is on medication for bipolar disorder.

Bundy was arraigned on misdemeanor counts of stalking, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person.

He was sent to Columbia County Prison because he did not meet bail, which was set at $25,000.

In a call to his father in a public area of the district judge's office, Bundy pleaded with him to somehow get the bail money together.

"What part of 'I don't want to spend a night in jail for DWB' don't you understand?" Bundy said. "DWB" is a common abbreviation for "driving while black."


Anonymous said...

Wow. Hadn't heard this one before.

I can only imagine the officer's reaction as he tried to get away from the person he suspected was armed with a high powered rifle - I'd have done the same!

Good post, and I'll visit often. There are quite a few more blog posts I'd like to read.

Happy New Year, Slamdunk!


Slamdunk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Slamdunk said...

I appreciate you stopping by and for the encouragement Sandra. As you can tell, I am a bit wordy--thanks for reading. Stay safe