Police: Fleeing driver took West Manchester officer for a (short) ride
A Harrisburg man who fled from a traffic stop with an illegal gun in the car took a West Manchester Township officer along for the ride, according to police allegations.
The police chase lasted for only about 150 feet, police said, after which the driver stopped and was arrested.
Once in custody, Roy Pilsitz-Wallace said to officers, "Thank you for not killing me," according to West Manchester Township Police Chief John Snyder.
Officer David Coates — the officer who was in the car when Pilsitz-Wallace took off — acted with restraint and bravery, as did the other officers involved, the chief said.
"This was a potentially deadly encounter and a testament to the officer’s training, experience, and judgment," Snyder wrote in an email.
"The officers were in a potentially deadly situation and (defused) it and did not use deadly force against a suspect that endangered the officers," Snyder wrote.
After Pilsitz-Wallace took off, Coates tried to turn off the car's ignition, then quickly convinced him to pull over, according to the chief.
Officers arrested the driver without incident, police said.
Pilsitz-Wallace, 25, of the 2600 block of Second Street, remains in York County Prison on $100,000 bail, charged with the felonies of fleeing or attempting to elude police, being a felon in illegal possession of a firearm and carrying a firearm without a license, according to court records.
He also is charged with the misdemeanors of simple assault, reckless endangerment and possession of a small amount of marijuana, and he is cited with the summary offenses of running a red light and operating a vehicle with unsafe equipment, records state.
The allegations: According to charging documents, Officer Zachary Martz pulled over Pilsitz-Wallace at 9:55 p.m. Friday on Carlisle Road near the Brougher Avenue intersection after seeing the man run a red light.
Pilsitz-Wallace stopped but was fidgety and nervous and was shaking so much he could barely hold the cigarette he was smoking, documents state.
After Martz smelled marijuana coming from the car, he had Pilsitz-Wallace turn off the vehicle and the officer called for backup, police said.
As he was waiting for other officers to arrive, Martz noticed the man reaching for something either behind his seat or between his seat and the center console, according to charging documents. Police said officers later determined he was reaching for a Taurus 9 mm handgun.
Officers also found a large handgun clip loaded with ammunition in a purse in the back of the car, police said, and a small amount of marijuana.
After backup arrived, Pilsitz-Wallace started the car despite being ordered not to, which is when Coates opened the passenger door and got in, charging documents state.
That's when Pilsitz-Wallace took off, police said. Coates talked him into stopping after they traveled just 150 feet, documents state.
It is unclear if Pilsitz-Wallace has retained an attorney. His criminal history includes a guilty plea in Dauphin County Court to felony drug possession with intent to deliver, according to court records.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.