Robert Dylan Straw

Robert Dylan Straw

VERNON TOWNSHIP — A 22-year-old Meadville man who was sought in connection with the assault of a Saegertown man and subsequent theft of a vehicle Thursday is in Crawford County jail facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.

Robert Dylan Straw, 1073 Liberty St., was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Lincoln Zilhaver on Saturday.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by state police in the case, Straw was driving a 2012 Chrysler 300 belonging to Robert Merritt, 38, shortly before 6 a.m. with both Merritt and a 21-year-old woman as passengers.

Merritt informed police that he noticed Straw driving recklessly as the trio was headed north on Route 98 near the intersection with Crossingville Road, and he told him to pull over, according to the probable cause affidavit and a subsequent press release from state police.

Upon pulling over, Straw and Merritt exited the car and an altercation ensued, Merritt told police. As the two men fought, Merritt told police, Straw pulled a handgun from his waistband and struck Merritt with it repeatedly in the face, leaving two lacerations to Merritt’s right eye. The encounter ended with Merritt running away and Straw fleeing south in the vehicle with the woman, according to the affidavit.

Merritt recovered his vehicle at the Lincoln Avenue Sports Complex later the same day, according to police, when he saw the same woman starting the vehicle. The woman, later identified by police as Victoria Jean Carless of Conneautville, fled the scene but was later contacted by police. She confirmed the essentials of what Merritt had told police regarding the altercation between Straw and Merritt, according to the affidavit.

On May 11, police searched Carless’ residence at 629 Licking St. and found Straw as well as a handgun like the one allegedly used by Straw, according to the affidavit. Police also found drug paraphernalia.

Straw faces felony charges of robbery, robbery of a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and firearms not to be carried without a license. He also faces misdemeanor charges of simple assault and reckless endangerment and several summary traffic violations.

Straw remains in county jail in lieu of $50,000 bond. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled on May 24 before Zilhaver.

Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mcrowley@meadvilletribune.com.