Police: Man fleeing DUI checkpoint crashed into oncoming car

Liz Evans Scolforo

A Windsor Township man stopped at a York County sobriety checkpoint on Friday night had other ideas and led state troopers on a high-speed chase until he crashed head-on into an oncoming vehicle, police said.

Taevian Earl Harris then tried to flee on foot but was tackled by a state trooper a few seconds later, charging documents state.

Taevian Harris

Harris, 21, of 320 Palomino Drive, is free on $10,000 bail, charged with the third-degree felony of fleeing or attempting to elude police, plus the misdemeanors of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and causing a hit-and-run crash. He also has been cited with failing to obey the order of a police officer directing traffic, failing to obey stop signs placed at the DUI checkpoint and failing to immediately notify police after causing a crash that injured another person.

The Center for Traffic Safety held a sobriety checkpoint Friday night and into early Saturday morning on the Interstate 83 business loop in York Township, with help from state and local police.

About 1:15 a.m. Saturday, police manning the checkpoint stopped a 2006 Hyundai Sonata driven by Harris, according to police. After police "observed indications of impairment," they asked Harris to get out of his vehicle, charging documents allege.

Harris instead took off, heading north on the loop at a high rate of speed, according to documents.

Troopers gave chase as Harris exited the loop onto South George Street, police said.

Head-on crash: At the Springettsbury Avenue intersection in York City, the Sonata crossed the center line and crashed head-on into an oncoming vehicle, documents state.

The other driver, 23-year-old Nathan Eicholtz of Jacobus, was trapped and had to be freed from the wreckage by fire/rescue crews before being taken to York Hospital, police said.

He suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to Cpl. Ryan Lawrence, a state police spokesman.

Harris was not trapped. He jumped out of the Sonata and took off on foot, according to police.

But Trooper Matthew Eicher was on Harris' heels and tackled the fleeing man, charging documents state.

Once on the ground, Harris continued to "passively resist" arrest by refusing to put his hands behind his back so he could be handcuffed, and several responding officers were needed to get Harris into custody, according to police.

Blood test: Harris later agreed to have his blood drawn for testing and admitted he fled the checkpoint because he knew he was under the influence, having had three or four shots of rum at a friend's house, documents allege.

Taevian Harris

That portion of South George Street was closed for several hours as police investigated and debris was cleared, police said.

A message left on Harris' cellphone was not immediately returned. It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney.

The numbers: State police Cpl. Brian Torkar reported that 13 drivers were arrested for DUI during the sobriety checkpoint.

In addition, police arrested five people for illegal drug possession, according to Torkar, and one woman was arrested for disorderly conduct.

An illegally possessed handgun — which was loaded — was seized after troopers found it tucked in the waistband of one of the people arrested for alleged drug possession, documents state.

Also participating in the checkpoint were York County sheriff's deputies, Springettsbury Township Police, Northeastern Regional Police, Loganville Volunteer Fire Co. and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.