WHEATLAND — One person is in custody and two more are on the loose after a stolen vehicle carrying three suspects crashed into a chain-link fence, sparking a manhunt in the wooded area behind Kelly Pipe Co. in Wheatland Monday.
Farrell detective Captain Chuck Rubano said the red Nissan Sentra was initially reported stolen more than a week ago.
Police issued another BOLO, or “be on the lookout,” for the car early Monday afternoon. At roughly 4 p.m. Farrell officer Toney Phillips spotted the car on Indiana Avenue in Farrell.
After flashing the sirens on his patrol car and indicating to the driver to pull over, Phillips said the driver ignored his order and turned onto Mercer Avenue. The three male suspects continued down Mercer Avenue, crossed Broadway Avenue and continued until the pavement ends just past Kelly Pipe Co. The suspect continued off-road for roughly 200 yards before veering down a ditch and into a chain-link fence that separates the wooded area from the property alongside Wheatland Tube.
Rubano said the suspects jumped out of the car, hopped the fence and ran off all in the same direction.
Police took one suspect into custody after it's believed he swam across the Shenango River.
While on scene, Rubano said he spotted the other two suspects who had meandered through the wooded area near the scene of the crash. Rubano said he drew his weapon, pointed it at the suspects and told them to stop, but the suspects were able to escape back into the woods.
Units from Farrell, Shenango Township, Sharon, Hermitage and Probation and Parole were called to set up a perimeter around the area while a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter was called from Franklin to search the area.
Rubano said multiple firearms, as well as two pairs of shoes were found at the scene. Since the suspect in custody was wearing shoes, Rubano said he believed the remaining suspects to be barefoot.
“They ran right out of their shoes,” he said.
The helicopter search was called off as the sun set at about 9 p.m. Monday. But Rubano said he doubted the barefoot fugitives would be able to make it far on the rough terrain before being captured.
Mike Lowrey, owner of Lowrey Towing in Farrell, was called to the scene to tow the stolen car. Lowrey said the car was so firmly embedded into the ditch by the chain-link fence that the car's airbags deployed as it was yanked out.
Farrell police also received a report of shots fired near Park Avenue Monday evening. Police said the two incidents are unrelated.