Car crashes into chiropractic office
A 18-year-old North Carolina man was arrested and charged with fleeing and eluding police after he crashed his Mercedes-Benz E500 into a business at 6806 Route 309, Lynn Township, just before 8:30 a.m. April 1, Easter morning.
State Police Cpl. Jason Haines of Troop M, Fogelsville, alleges Julio Omar Rivera-Lopez, of Rocky Mount, N.C., was driving at 102 mph as he drove by a marked state police unit operating radar west on Tilghman Street to Route 100 north, Upper Macungie.
As Rivera-Lopez approached the area of the business in New Tripoli, at the intersection of Routes 309 and 143, he lost control of the car which left the roadway and crashed into the chiropractic office in a building owned by Donald Billig of New Tripoli.
According to the affidavit of probable cause obtained from District Judge Tom Creighton’s office, Slatington, Haines stated he immediately put on his “lights” and followed the Mercedes as it drove by his marked police vehicle. When the Mercedes exited at Kuhnsville onto Tilghman Street west at a high rate of speed, Haines stopped his pursuit and radioed other state police units to be on the look out for the Mercedes.
Additional troopers from State Police Troop M, Fogelsville, were dispatched at 8:22 a.m. to the 6806 Route 309 location for a report of a vehicle into a building.
According to the affidavit, a witness stopped at the crash and said two males fled, while Rivera-Lopez asked him to take him home. When the witness refused, River-Lopez fled to the wooded area behind the building.
Haines states as the car was being removed from the building, he opened the passenger side door to retrieve an insurance card, and detected a strong odor of burned marijuana and saw a black .380-caliber handgun. Around 9:44 a.m. Haines received word that Rivera-Lopez and his two passengers had been taken into custody after coming out of the woods in the area of Springhouse and Sassafras roads. Rivera-Lopez allegedly admitted to driving the car and stated he fled as he did not have a driver’s license but denied ownership of the handgun.
According to the affidavit, the rear, juvenile male passenger stated he saw Rivera-Lopez with the handgun throughout the previous night and Rivera-Lopez had pointed it at him. The front, juvenile male passenger allegedly stated Rivera-Lopez had a gun, however, he never pointed it at anyone. Haines stated Rivera-Lopez does not have a lawful permit to carry a firearm and cannot lawfully possess one as he is not 21 years of age.
In addition to fleeing and eluding police, Rivera-Lopez was also charged with being a person who is not to possess a firearm, recklessly endangering another person, driving without a license, driving an unregistered vehicle, criminal mischief damage to property, careless and reckless driving and related summary traffic offenses. According to Lehigh County criminal court records, Rivera-Lopez was arraigned April 1 before District Judge Michael Joseph Pochron, Allentown. His bail was set at $20,000.
Rivera-Lopez was unable to post bail and was confined to Lehigh County Jail, Allentown.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 9 before Creighton.