A Glenville-area repeat drunken driver who police said was drunk and operating an all-terrain vehicle when he led officers on a high-speed chase must go to state prison.
Aaron Mellinger, 35, of 5090 Glen Echo Road in Codorus Township, was riding home from a bar when he caught the attention of officers, police said.
He pleaded no contest Wednesday to his fourth-offense DUI, fleeing or attempting to elude police and driving with a suspended license, according to court records.
Mellinger initially entered a guilty plea, but it was changed to a no-contest plea because Mellinger's memory of the incident is spotty due to intoxication, according to senior deputy prosecutor Jared Mellott.
Mellinger was sentenced to one to five years in state prison as part of a negotiated plea agreement.
Mellott said it's illegal to drive or ride any vehicle on public roads while drunk.
"People who are killed because of a crash caused by an ATV ... are just as dead as people killed by a conventional automobile," he said. "Technically speaking, people who are riding bicycles can be arrested for DUI."
Mellott said people have been killed by drunken drivers on ATVs.
The chase: Southern Regional Police said that shortly after midnight April 16, 2012, they were alerted Mellinger was riding away from the Rail Trail Tavern, 6 Valley St. in Glen Rock.
An officer spotted him speeding on Baltimore Street and tried to pull him over, but Mellinger fled onto Route 616, turned right on Fissels Church Road and drove onto the Southern School District campus, police said.
Mellinger's ATV struck a curb on the campus, at which point an officer pinned the ATV between his cruiser and the curb, police said.
Mellinger fled on foot but was arrested after a brief struggle, according to police.
Flat tire: Several days after the incident, Mellinger told The York Dispatch he wasn't drunk and didn't realize police were chasing him.
He said he was driving on public streets because his ATV had a flat tire and he was afraid to take it off-road.
Mellinger said he was listening to music with his earphones while riding the ATV.
"I didn't really know (police) were behind me," he said at the time.
Mellinger said he pulled to the curb when he realized an officer was trying to stop him.
Defense attorney Marc Semke did not return a phone message seeking comment.
-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.