Three years ago, a Manor Township man was arrested for running from police while intoxicated during a traffic stop.
He was sentenced by Armstrong County President Judge Kenneth Valasek in February 2012 to serve in the Armstrong County Jail a maximum of six months – after a fourth parole violation, is again in prison.
Now 24 years old, Caleb Fitzgerald – formerly of Scout Run Road in Manor Township (Ford City) – ran from police during a traffic stop October 3, 2011.
According to the original police affidavit, officers first noticed a damaged head lamp on the passenger side of Fitzgerald’s green Dodge truck and stopped the vehicle at the intersection with Queen Street in Manor Township. It was then that officers smelled alcohol inside the vehicle and observed Fitzgerald with “red, glassy bloodshot eyes.”
After Fitzgerald and his two passengers exited the vehicle, officers observed in plain view a hypodermic needle and “a large amount” of empty stamp bags on the floor of the truck. While all three were being taken into custody, Fitzgerald fled the scene.
Nearby police units as well as state police troopers in Kittanning were notified of Fitzgerald’s escape. Later that day, officers chased Fitzgerald across a creek and searched for four hours in a wooded area – damaging police gear, including boots, pants and gun belt equipment – since state police aviation was unavailable.
Fitzgerald was found in a camper trailer along Creek Valley Road asleep and taken into custody.
In February 2012, Fitzgerald pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of escape, resisting arrest, driving under the influence and possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as a summary charge of public drunkenness waiving jury trial. He was sentenced later that month to not more than six months in the Armstrong County Jail and 18 months of probation, as well as restitution and other fines.
A bench warrant was issued for Fitzgerald’s arrest in May – and Judge Valasek ordered parole be revoked initially – but a subsequent order ordered Fitzgerald to serve time at the Cove Forge residential treatment center in Williamsburg (Blair County) to treat drug and alcohol use.
But, Fitzgerald was wanted again twice in 2013, and ordered to serve up to two years in the Armstrong County Jail (with credit for serving nearly 230 days, or more than seven months).
His most recent bench warrant issued in August was vacated at the end of September, and Fitzgerald remanded to serve the remainder of his sentence in the Armstrong County Jail without receiving credit for street time.