A routine traffic stop on Route 28 north in East Deer Township began a high-speed police chase that ended in Ford City on Sunday night.
Kirk Heath, 43, of Cranberry, Venango County, failed to pull over when Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Jeremy Bowser initiated the stop. Instead, he led police on a high-speed chase that topped 130 miles-per-hour through three different counties. At several points, state police terminated the chase for fear of public safety.
Heath drove his 2002 BMW into the borough of Ford City, stopping along 3rd Avenue and Tenth Street. Heath took off on foot and ran toward the river. His passenger, a woman known to Heath, was held against her will and was allegedly assaulted during the pursuit. She was found moments after the vehicle stopped in Ford City.
“I was able to locate the vehicle just as the passenger was running from the car,” Bowser said. “She was just trying to get away from him.”
State Police were joined by local departments from Ford City Borough, Manor Township, and the Armstrong County Sheriff’s office, who brought in a tracking dog. The team searched until about 11PM before stopping due to safety in the darkness of night.
Bowser said that Heath was arrested Monday morning.
“Acting on a tip, I apprehended him at 9AM this morning at tobacco shop on 5th Avenue,” Bowser said. He presumed that Heath had stayed in the area between 3rd Avenue and the Allegheny River all night.
“We are not sure why Heath chose to come to Ford City,” Bowser said. “We don’t believe he had any ties to anyone in Ford City.”
Heath was arraigned Monday morning before District Magisterial Judge James Andring on charges of fleeing and alluding police, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, and drug offenses. He was committed to the Armstrong County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.
Bowser thanked his fellow officers for their assistance throughout the search.
“It worked out good. Nobody got hurt. Nobody crashed. The person is in jail. So everything worked out safely,” Bowser concluded.