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Chambersburg, Pa., man charged after police pursuit

Gabriel Edward Gomez faces numerous charges in I-81 incident

January 31, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

A Chambersburg, Pa., man has been charged with leading authorities on a vehicle chase Monday afternoon that reached speeds of 120 mph and ended when the driver crashed into a tractor-trailer on southbound Interstate 81.

Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said the chase was not related to a fatal accident that occurred around the same time Monday afternoon on I-81 north of the Marshall Street and Maugansville Road interchange.

“It was totally separate,” Mullendore said.

Gabriel Edward Gomez, 25, of 31 N. Franklin St. in Chambersburg, was charged with one count of theft of $1,000 to under $10,000.

He also was charged with one count each of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle; unauthorized removal of property; attempt by driver to elude police in official police vehicle by failing to stop; failure to control vehicle speed on a highway to avoid a collision; failure to stop after accident involving damage to an attended vehicle; driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on the highway without a required license; and reckless driving, according to a charging summary obtained Tuesday from Washington County District Court.

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Convictions on those charges carry a maximum sentence of 19 years in prison and fines of more than $15,000.

Gomez was being held Tuesday in the Washington County Detention Center on $200,000 bond.
Washington County authorities received a call at about 3:45 p.m. Monday from Pennsylvania State Police reporting that troopers were heading south on I-81 chasing the driver of a stolen 1992 Toyota Camry, according to the statement of probable cause.

The car had been reported stolen early Monday to the Chambersburg Police Department.

Pennsylvania troopers pursued the Toyota into Washington County, where it got off on the Maugans Avenue exit and continued down several other streets before returning to southbound I-81.

The Toyota struck a dump truck and another vehicle, court documents said. The car didn’t stop until it hit a tractor-trailer near the Maugans Avenue overpass.

The tractor-trailer driver, John Robert Owen, told police that the Toyota struck the outside tire on the fourth axle of the trailer, then hit the trailer again. The second collision caused the Toyota’s hood to buckle, documents said.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Gomez and a passenger in the Toyota were arrested at the scene.

The passenger was not charged.

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