Four pas­sen­gers in­jured as driver flees po­lice, crashes car

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL -

A driver crashed his car into the side of the for­mer St. Joseph’s Hos­pi­tal in Ha­zle­ton while try­ing to flee city po­lice early Satur­day morn­ing, city po­lice said.

The driver, Ja­son De la Cruz, 34, ran from the ve­hi­cle but four oc­cu­pants were trapped in­side and in­jured, po­lice said.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, the in­ci­dent started when an of­fi­cer saw a ve­hi­cle driven by De la Cruz al­most strike a pedes­trian on Cleve­land Street around 2:30 a.m. The of­fi­cer tried to stop the ve­hi­cle, but De la Cruz sped away.

He al­legedly ran sev­eral stop signs and pro­ceeded onto Di­a­mond Av­enue and Colum­bus Court as of­fi­cers pur­sued him. From there, he trav­eled to Arthur Street and then East Ninth Street. As De la Cruz at­tempted to turn onto Lee Court, he struck a large patch of ice and the ve­hi­cle slid into the hos­pi­tal.

De la Cruz ex­ited the ve­hi­cle but was caught by of­fi­cers.

The Ha­zle­ton Fire Depart­ment re­moved the ve­hi­cle’s roof to free the pas­sen­gers. All were taken to area trauma cen­ters for non-lifethreat­en­ing in­juries, po­lice said. One pas­sen­ger was air­lifted from the scene for a hip in­jury.

Po­lice said the ve­hi­cle suf­fered heavy front end dam­age and in­tru­sion into the pas­sen­ger com­part­ment. It was towed by Paul’s Tow­ing.

De la Cruz was med­i­cally cleared and charged with flee­ing and elud­ing-DUI re­lated; driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence after re­fus­ing to take a test; five counts of reck­less en­dan­ger­ment; care­less driv­ing; reck­less driv­ing; eight stop sign vi­o­la­tions; speed­ing; hit and run; fail­ure to ren­der aid and fail­ure to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion.

One pas­sen­ger was charged with un­der­age drink­ing.


A ve­hi­cle is re­moved from the scene of a crash early Satur­day on Lee Court, ad­ja­cent to the for­mer St. Joseph’s Hos­pi­tal, in Ha­zle­ton. City po­lice said the driver, who fled from them, faces charges; four pas­sen­gers were in­jured.


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