CLEARFIELD – A Reynoldsville man who struck a woman’s vehicle with an ax before leading police on a chase pleaded guilty in Clearfield County Court.
Damien Lee Irvin, 34, 4774 Route 322, Reynoldsville, an inmate of the jail, pleaded guilty to fleeing or attempting to elude police, two counts of recklessly endangering another person and several traffic summaries in one case and three counts of criminal mischief and disorderly conduct in a second case.
Judge Paul Cherry sentenced him to nine months to three years in state prison. He was fined $663 plus costs and he must pay restitution of more than $21,000.
The charges stem from incidents in Sandy Township in June and October.
Prior to sentencing, Curtis Irwin, who is representing Irvin, noted that in November he was sentenced to nine months in jail for violating a protection from abuse order three times. He stated it is “clear that alcohol was the issue” in Irvin’s trouble with the law. Irwin said Irvin is receiving counseling and his counselor has described him as having more promise than most people she deals with. The only reason Irvin isn’t in a long-term rehabilitation program is because they are waiting to see what happens with these cases, he said.
Irvin addressed the court, admitting “my acts were out of line” and saying he is taking responsibility for his actions. He asked Cherry to show mercy.
Irvin’s trouble with police started after a warrant was issued for him for failing to appear in court for contempt of court charges filed because he violated a PFA order. According to court documents, Irvin was supposed to be in court on Sept. 24. That day Irvin called the victim and left a message on her phone stating, “Please call me back. Drop the PFA. I want to be civil for the kids.” He also sent her text messages several times that day. She fled to another county because she was concerned for her safety.
On Oct. 14, police were dispatched to the DuBois Nursing Home to investigate a report of a man breaking windows out of a vehicle. According to the affidavit of probable cause, an employee of the business saw a man park his truck in the lot. He got out of the vehicle and began slicing the tires on the victim’s vehicle. He went back to his vehicle where he removed an ax, which he used to break the windows, headlights and turn signals. He got back into his vehicle and left but returned, backing directly into the rear of the vehicle, causing more damage. The description she gave police of the man matched Irvin.
As officers arrived on the scene, they saw the truck described in the crime driving out of the lot. The officers activated their lights and tried to stop the vehicle. It continued traveling in a very erratic manner. The officers followed it as it accelerated up to 100 miles per hour. They saw it travel into the other lane multiple times while on Route 322. They crossed into Henderson Township in Jefferson County and traveled toward Reynoldsville. It passed another vehicle in a no passing zone at a high rate of speed before turning left onto Big Run-Prescotville Road. Irvin turned the headlights off in an attempt to avoid identification.
After a short distance, the lights came back on and the pursuit continued, as the vehicle traveled in a reckless manner. They went onto Himes Hill Road, through a small creek and a yard. The vehicle spun sideways allowing the police car’s headlights to shine into the vehicle where the officer was able to positively identify Irvin. Shortly after the vehicle made a left onto state Route 310 towards Punxsutawney, the police lost it. A search was made of the area, but the vehicle was not found. Officers then went to Irvin’s last known address, but he was not there. The total mileage of the chase was 22.08 miles.
Also on Oct. 14, police were contacted by the victim who reported that she had received a message from Irvin through Facebook. She then removed him from her Facebook. The attack on her vehicle was believed to be in retaliation for this action.
The criminal mischief case dates back to June 4 after Irvin stopped near the victim’s father’s home and spun his tires. This caused the gravel in a parking lot to strike the victim’s vehicle, as well as a neighbor’s vehicle. The neighbor told police she was in her vehicle parked in front of her residence when the incident occurred. She saw the truck stop in the parking lot, spin the tires, begin to drive away and then stop and to spin the tires again. She said she had to quickly roll up her car window, as rocks and dust covered her car. Damage to two of the vehicles was more than $5,000.
Shortly after Irvin was named “Fugitive of the Week,” he was apprehended at a residence in Rathmel, according to a press release from the District Attorney’s office.