York County sheriff: 'Thank God no one was hurt'

Liz Evans Scolforo

A York County sheriff's deputy was nearly struck and a second was nearly dragged as they tried to stop an extremely intoxicated driver going the wrong way on Philadelphia Street, according to police.

York County Sheriff's Sgt. Troy Senft

Frederick W. Farmer took off when deputies approached, but sheriff's Sgt. Troy Senft jumped into the man's pickup truck and wrestled with him in an effort to stop the car, sheriff's Lt. Greg Ickler said.

Deputies feared Farmer could have possibly hurt or killed someone if he kept driving in that condition, the lieutenant said.

Senft — who is in his 50s — easily could have been dragged by the fleeing pickup and potentially injured, according to Ickler.

"Thank God no one was hurt," Sheriff Richard Keuerleber said of the 1:09 p.m. Feb. 26 incident.

Frederick Farmer

What happened: Senft was in a vehicle outside the York County Judicial Center, at the corner of North George and Philadelphia streets, and Ickler and sheriff's Sgt. Shawn Brady were on foot, according to charging documents filed by York City Police.

A good Samaritan who was on the phone with 911 to report Farmer's erratic driving told a 911 dispatcher there were deputies in the area, Ickler said, and that's when 911 sent out a dispatch to the deputies about the driver.

Farmer was northbound on George Street and turned right onto East Philadelphia Street, meaning he was driving the wrong way on the one-way street, according to the lieutenant.

A few yards later he struck a fire hydrant and nearly struck Brady, Ickler said.

Farmer made a left on Duke Street, a left onto North Street and a third left, which put him back onto North George Street, this time heading southbound, according to Ickler.

York County Sheriff's Sgt. Shawn Brady

Stopped in traffic: Farmer was forced to stop for slow-moving traffic prior to reaching the Philadelphia Street intersection, and Senft used that small window of opportunity to open the driver-side door to try to pull out Farmer, the lieutenant said.

But when traffic moved, so did Farmer's pickup truck, police said. It went about 15 feet, carrying Senft along for the ride, Ickler said. His feet weren't touching the ground so he was not technically dragged, the lieutenant said, but his feet were hanging out of the truck.

During Senft's short ride, he struggled to get Farmer under control, Ickler said. York City Police said Senft could have been seriously hurt.

But Brady ran up and together the two sergeants got the truck stopped and handcuffed Farmer, Ickler said; they then called York City Police.

Smelled of booze: Farmer smelled strongly of alcohol and had urinated in his pants, charging documents state.

Neither Senft nor Brady needed medical attention. Farmer was admitted to York Hospital for extreme intoxication after being taken there for a blood-alcohol test, Ickler said.

Farmer, 40, of 893 E. Philadelphia St., second floor, is free on $5,000 bail, charged with two counts each of aggravated assault on law enforcement and reckless endangerment, and one count each of fleeing police and driving under the influence, according to court records. It is unclear if he has retained an attorney.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.