Harris Waives Charges in Aggravated Assault by Vehicle While DUI Case

CLEARFIELD – A Woodland man who has been accused of crashing into a woman’s vehicle while driving drunk and injuring her will stand trial.

Richard Earl Harris IV, 20, of Woodland has been charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI; three, different DUI offenses; and three summaries.

Harris waived his preliminary hearing on these charges Wednesday, and his case was sent to the Court of Common Pleas for further disposition.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, while on patrol Aug. 26 state police at Clearfield were dispatched to a crash on Bigler Road in Bradford Township.

Upon arrival to the scene, state police observed a Jeep Cherokee and a Ford Escape with heavy damage. Both were bearing Pennsylvania registration.

The driver of the Escape was seated in the driver’s seat, and she appeared to be in pain. Harris, the driver of the Jeep, was standing next to it. A trooper immediately approached him about the crash.

The trooper allegedly smelled a very strong odor of alcohol on Harris’ breath. He also observed Harris to have bloodshot, watery eyes and droopy eyelids.

Harris was staggering and appeared very uncoordinated and disoriented. His speech was slurred. The trooper asked for his driver’s license, insurance and registration but was only provided Harris’ license, according to the affidavit.

From his driver’s license, state police learned Harris’ name and age. He was then asked what happened and he told the trooper he crashed his Jeep into the Escape. He also allegedly admitted to consuming alcohol prior to driving.

Harris refused any type of field sobriety tests. He told state police he was in trouble and he knew he was going to jail. He then proceeded to ask the trooper to take him to jail.

State police placed Harris under arrest for DUI and transported him to the Clearfield Penn Highlands Hospital for a blood test. He agreed to the blood test and after that he was taken to the county jail.

Harris refused to give the trooper any name of a person he could be released to.

When interviewed, the driver of the Escape told state police she’d been driving north on Bigler Road when the Jeep crashed into her vehicle at a high rate of speed. She tried to move out of the way to avoid the Jeep; however, she didn’t have enough time.

On Aug. 27 state police went to the Bigler Minit Mart and an employee provided surveillance of Harris driving recklessly in the parking lot and then exiting at a high rate of speed.

Although it didn’t show the actual crash, state police observed a dust cloud emerging from the crash scene. After that, the Jeep went out of view.

When the trooper was processing Harris for release that same day, he asked several times about the condition of the driver whose vehicle he’d crashed into the previous d ay.

On Oct. 8 state police received the blood test results, and Harris’ BAC at the time of the incident was .189 percent.

The driver of the Escape was interviewed a second time and told state police that she’d sustained serious injuries in the crash. She had a fractured right wrist, which severely limited her abilities to complete basic tasks.

She also sustained a fractured left knee, which has left her confined to a wheelchair. She said prior to the crash, her health was very good for someone who was 71 years old. She currently remains under the care of a doctor for her injuries.

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