Driver in High-speed State Police Pursuit Waives Hearing

CLEARFIELD – A Sandy Ridge man is facing charges after leading a state trooper on a high-speed pursuit while under the influence of an illegal drug.

Joshua Duane Knepp, 20, has been charged by Trooper John A. Bacher IV of the Clearfield-based state police with two felony counts of fleeing or attempting to elude an officer.

Knepp has also been charged with misdemeanor counts of intentional possession of a controlled substance, use/possession of drug paraphernalia and DUI/controlled substance, plus 24 summaries.

Knepp waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court at the Clearfield County Jail. His bail has been set at $25,000 monetary.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Aug. 14, Bacher was fueling up his patrol unit at Snappy’s Convenience Store when he saw a crotch rocket making a redundant trip around Houtzdale.

This caught his attention and he began to follow the motorbike on Sue Street. From a distance of approximately 15 feet, it didn’t appear to have a license plate and Bacher activated his emergency lights.

When Bacher attempted a traffic stop, the driver proceeded to turn right onto Sterling Avenue. At its intersection with Spring Street, Bacher was within two feet of the motorbike and saw its license plate was concealed by the rear wheel.

At this time, Bacher saw the registration had expired in May. The driver accelerated south and a pursuit ensued with Bacher’s siren activated. It continued onto Route 253 into Ramey at speeds reportedly in excess of 100 miles per hour.

Bacher pursued the driver back into Houtzdale on Route 253 and then into Osceola Mills on Route 53. He said the driver ignored every stop sign and red light and crossed the center line numerous times as he fled.

When the pursuit reached Phoenix Road in Rush Township, Trooper Shane Murarik was traveling towards Bacher’s patrol unit and the motorbike was between the two PSP units. The driver slowed to a coast and began to weave around Murarik’s unit.

Bacher proceeded to exit his unit and ran up to the motorbike. He yelled, “freeze,” which the driver failed to do. Bacher subsequently deployed his taser to strike the driver and terminate the pursuit.

The driver was identified as Knepp and his license was under DUI suspension. During a search of his person, he was found in possession of three suspected Klonopin pills in a clear plastic bag in his pocket.

Knepp was also wearing a backpack, which he gave consent for state police to search. Inside the backpack was a lockbox and Knepp provided the combination and it contained residue.

Another consent search was given from the rear lockbox of the crotch rocket. It yielded a small tactical pouch containing approximately $2,200 in bulk cash in numerous denominations and was found to be consistent with illegal drug activities.

One bill was rolled up as though it had been used as a snorting device, Bacher said in the affidavit.  He observed Knepp’s eyes and noted they were extremely glassy and bloodshot; his pupils weren’t even, which is attributed to being under the influence of an illegal drug.

Knepp allegedly admitted to using marijuana approximately three hours before the incident. He was taken for a legal blood draw and for the purposes of a medical clearance.

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