Prison time for York police chase in which cop shot Dover woman
A York Township man must spend several years in state prison for causing a police chase while driving drunk and nearly hitting a York City Police officer.
The officer fired on the car as he dove out of the way, according to police, and two of his bullets struck a Dover-area woman in the front passenger seat of the fleeing car.
Matthew Foster, 23, pleaded no contest Friday to aggravated assault, and he pleaded guilty to fleeing or attempting to elude police, DUI, three counts of reckless endangerment and driving with a suspended license, according to court records.
He will get credit for the roughly 8-1/2 months he's already spent in prison, according to his defense attorney, chief public defender Bruce Blocher.
As part of a negotiated plea agreement, Foster was sentenced to three to six years in prison and ordered to attend alcohol highway safety classes and undergo drug and alcohol evaluation, court records state.
He also was ordered to pay more than $4,000 in restitution to Met-Ed for damaging a utility pole when he crashed, according to his attorney.
"It was a stupid mistake," Blocher said of the incident. "It was a DUI that turned into something really bad. But he took responsibility for it."
State police said it happened just after 2 a.m. Dec. 19, 2014, in the 300 block of West Gay Avenue.
The chase: York City Police tried to pull over a silver Mitsubishi Lancer for traffic violation near the intersection of State and Walnut streets, but Foster fled, according to Trooper Rob Hicks, a state police spokesman.
The officer chased the Lancer onto Newberry Street, then westbound onto West Gay Avenue, going the wrong way on the one-way alley, Hicks said.
At the same time, an eastbound York City cruiser on Gay blocked the Lancer's path of travel, effectively trapping it, Hicks said.
Foster briefly stopped, then backed his car away from the second officer, identified in court documents as Officer Ben Smith.
Smith got out of his cruiser and tried to arrest Foster, who crashed into a utility pole as Smith approached on foot, Hicks said.
Drove at cop: At that point, the Lancer "abruptly" changed direction and drove at a high rate of speed directly at Smith, according to Hicks.
Smith dove out of the way as he fired his service pistol at Foster and narrowly avoided being struck by the car, Hicks said.
Front-seat passenger Erika Eberhardinger — who owned the Lancer and was 22 at the time — was struck by two bullets but avoided life-threatening injuries, according to court documents.
Back-seat passenger Mason Millen of York escaped injury, police said.
Foster still refused to stop and drove westbound on Gay Avenue but had no escape route and crashed into a metal railing along the north side of the street, Hicks said. He then got out of the car and surrendered to officers, police said.
Blocher said Foster pleaded no contest to the aggravated assault because he can't remember much after crashing.
"After he hit his head in the car, things got a little foggy," the attorney said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.