Police: York-area parole fugitive dragged cop with SUV, spurred helicopter search

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

An allegedly violent parole absconder accused of dragging a West Manchester Township police officer with a vehicle as he fled capture  has been arrested by a federal fugitive task force and local police.

Shane Austin Eckert was nabbed Jan. 25 as he hid in a carport after running from federal fugitive task force members who tracked him to a Fairview Township hotel, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Eckert, 40, of the 5200 block of Lincoln Highway West (Route 30) in Jackson Township, was arraigned that night at the county's central booking unit on his felony charges of aggravated assault, flight to avoid apprehension and fleeing or eluding police, according to court records. He also is charged with the misdemeanor of false identification to law enforcement.

Eckert is in York County Prison on $75,000 bail, court records state.

Eckert was on the run for nine days after dragging West Manchester Township Police Officer Bradley Engle for a short distance as he fled from officers in his father's SUV, according to charging documents.

Shane Austin Eckert

It was on Jan. 16 that Engle and another officer tried to arrest Eckert, who was wanted on a state parole detainer for allegedly absconding from his parole in another case, officials said.

The officers were on patrol and spotted a Subaru Forester in the parking lot of a Kenneth Road hotel about 12:25 a.m.

They determined the SUV is owned by Eckert's father, then realized the man in the vehicle appeared to be Eckert, documents state.

When Eckert and a woman he'd met on Snapchat that night walked into the hotel lobby, the officers approached him, but Eckert claimed to be one of his brothers, according to charging documents.

Walked back to SUV: When asked for identification, Eckert went back to the SUV and supposedly searched for ID, documents state.

Police said that by that time, officers had determined he was, in fact, Shane Eckert — and that he was on the lam.

Eckert's warrant from the state parole office "specified Shane was an Assaultive Parole Violator," charging documents state. "The warrant also specified to use caution as Shane has violent tendencies."

Eckert started the SUV, at which point Engle grabbed him and tried to pull him out, but Eckert drove off as the officer tried to stay on his feet, police said.

"Officer Engle eventually lost his footing and fell while being dragged over the pavement a short distance before he escaped," charging documents state.

Shane Austin Eckert

Engle suffered minor hand and wrist injuries, plus a scraped knee, according to documents, which state his uniform pants and shirt were ripped.

The officers gave chase in a cruiser but lost sight of the SUV as it turned onto Carlisle Road from Loucks Road, police said.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Service's local fugitive task force were asked to help track down Eckert and learned he was staying at a hotel in the 300 block of Lewisberry Road in Fairview Township, according to the marshals service.

Fled another hotel: About 12:30 p.m.  on Jan. 25, task force members and Fairview Township Police closed in on Eckert's room, but he escaped by forcing his way into an adjacent room and running off the property, the marshals service said.

Eckert fled across the Pennsylvania Turnpike and into an overgrown area, where police searched for him — including with a state police helicopter, according to the marshals service.

Just before 2 p.m., task force members found him hiding in a carport in the 300 block of Limekiln Road. He ignored commands to surrender and struggled unsuccessfully with arresting officers, police said.

"His actions during the escape from the (Fairview Township) hotel … remain under investigation," according to a news release from the U.S. Marshals Service.

The marshals service's local fugitive task force is composed of officers and agents from 20 state, county and local law-enforcement agencies.

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