FARRELL — Police filed charges Tuesday against one of three suspects involved in a police chase and ensuing manhunt in Wheatland.
Travis Nicholas Brandt, 18, of 426 Madison St., Sharon, is charged with receiving stolen property, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, carrying firearms without a license, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, reckless endangerment, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance, and summary driving offenses.
According to an affidavit of probable cause in the case, Brandt was the driver of the red Nissan Sentra, which was reported stolen from Farrell on July 6, the Sharon teen’s 18th birthday.
Farrell police Officer Toney Phillips spotted the stolen vehicle on Negley Street in Farrell just after 4 p.m. Monday. Phillips said he pulled his police cruiser behind the vehicle and turned on his overhead lights and emergency siren when the vehicle turned onto Indiana Avenue.
The vehicle, carrying Brandt and two other male suspects, then accelerated onto Mercer Avenue. According to the affidavit, Brandt ran multiple stop signs, a traffic light and narrowly missed hitting a motorcyclist as he drove south onto Church Street.
Police said the stolen vehicle went airborne as it crossed railroad tracks and onto the property of Wheatland Tube. The car continued onto a dirt road and went through a chain link fence that was secured by a lock and chain. The vehicle continued into a field before crashing into another part of the chain link fence. The three suspects then left the vehicle, hopped the fence and ran into the woods.
Units from Farrell, Shenango Township, Sharon, Hermitage and Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole were called to set up a perimeter while a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter was called from Franklin to assist in the search.
Police believe Brandt swam across the Shenango River Monday before Hermitage police took him into custody.
While on scene, Farrell Detective Capt. Chuck 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.
When searching the abandoned vehicle, police found two handguns, loose ammunition, just under a gram of heroin, $190 cash and four bags containing a total of a total of 250 grams of what police described as “brownish green vegetable matter suspected to be marijuana.”
That substance later tested positive for THC, the intoxicant in marijuana.
Phone calls Tuesday to Farrell police regarding the other two suspects, as well as an unrelated report of shots fired near Park Avenue Monday evening, went unreturned.
The remaining suspects remained at large as of Monday night.
Brandt has a preliminary hearing scheduled for 1:15 p.m. July 29 before District Judge Mary Ann Odem.