North pleads not guilty in Franklin County

January 17, 2007|BY DON AINES


A Fannettsburg, Pa., man apprehended last year while driving a dead man's car was in Franklin County Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to escaping from the county prison.

Scott Nathan North, 26, had his case scheduled for the March trial term, according to the District Attorney's Office. He is charged with failing to return to the prison from a work release assignment in Shippensburg, Pa., on his birthday, Aug. 2, 2006.

North was taken into custody by Pennsylvania State Police in Mifflin County on Aug. 10, after leading police on a high-speed chase that began in Mount Union, Pa. Police received a call that he was seen leaving a bar in Shirleysburg, Pa.


The 1991 Ford Crown Victoria that North was driving was registered to Carl W. Ryder, 43, of Amberson, Pa., in Franklin County. When first pulled over, North gave police Ryder's driver's license and claimed he recently had undergone plastic surgery, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in Huntingdon County.

After the ensuing chase, North told police he had hitchhiked from Shippensburg to Ryder's Drifted Lane home and had been given use of the car while his former employer was out of town.

Ryder's badly decomposed body was discovered along Allison Road in Tell Township in Huntingdon County on Aug. 16, police said. Huntingdon County Coroner Ron Morder said Wednesday the cause of Ryder's death has yet to be determined and additional testing of samples from the autopsy is under way at a forensic laboratory in Erie, Pa.

After Ryder's body was discovered, police said they were investigating possible links between North and Ryder's death. Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson said Huntingdon County has taken over jurisdiction for the investigation of Ryder's death because that is where his body was discovered.

A staff member at Magisterial District Judge Michael Colyer's office said no charges have been filed against North in connection with Ryder's death.

North was charged with fleeing and eluding police, false identification, flight to avoid apprehension, driving with a suspended license, speeding and reckless driving in Huntingdon County, according to Colyer's office. North was bound over for court on those charges at his preliminary hearing, but the case remains active, according to a Pennsylvania court Web site.

At the time of his escape, North had served more than a year of a 17 1/2- to-23-month jail sentence for burglary and theft, according to court records.

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