Police chase ends in drug, assault charges

CLARION — Clarion County detectives filed possession and delivery of drugs and other charges on Thursday against a Mayport man accused of leading police on a high-speed chase through Clarion Borough.

Sky Alexander Hoffman, 23, is charged with felony offenses of drug possession with intent to deliver, criminal use of a communication device, fleeing police and aggravated assault; misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and reckless endangerment; and summary offenses of reckless driving, careless driving, failure to stop at a stop sign and improper passing.

According to a criminal complaint filed at District Judge Duane L. Quinn’s office, the Clarion Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) used a confidential informant to make a controlled drug purchase of two-and-one quarter grams of methamphetamine from Hoffman in exchange for $200.

At 7:31 p.m. Wednesday, Hoffman arrived at a Clarion residence, where Clarion police officer Roger Wright was inside with the informant, according to the complaint.

From the street, Clarion County Chief Detective William V. Peck IV viewed Hoffman's vehicle as it pulled into the driveway, the complaint said.

The informant, the complaint said, exited the residence, with Peck viewing the informant approaching the driver’s side of the vehicle.

According to the complaint, the informant exchanged the marked $200 of CNET money for a plastic bag of suspected crystal meth.

According to the complaint, the informant turned over the bag to Wright and said the exchange was with Hoffman through the driver’s side window while two other people were in the car.

The vehicle, the complaint said, pulled out and was followed by Peck's vehicle and that of an undercover state trooper.

According to the complaint, Peck was in communication with Clarion police officer Andrew Turnbull, whose patrol car got behind Hoffman's vehicle on South Sixth Avenue just before Boundary Street.

Turnbull turned on his patrol unit’s emergency lights in effort to get Hoffman to stop his vehicle, the complaint said.

Hoffman's vehicle rapidly accelerated, traveled at a high rate of speed and failed to stop at the stop sign on Boundary Street and Sixth Avenue, the complaint said.

The vehicle, the complaint said, continued at a high rate of speed past Clarion Elementary School, and just east of the school, the suspect's vehicle turned around and headed west on Boundary Street.

According to the complaint, the vehicle then stopped on Boundary Street and a person was observed exiting the vehicle and fleeing into the woods on the elementary school property.

The complaint said the suspect's vehicle then continued west on Boundary Street, with the Clarion police car maintaining pursuit.

According to the complaint, Peck chased the fleeing passenger, Brayanna J. Aites, before taking her into custody in the woods on the school's property.

Aites is charged with a felony offense of drug possession with intent to deliver and misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, the complaint said.

While in custody, Aites said another front-seat passenger, Levi Zacherl, also fled the vehicle at the same time as she had, according to the complaint.

As the chase continued, the complaint said, Hoffman drove in a reckless manner, passing vehicles on the left twice and running a total of eight stop signs.

Hoffman's vehicle, the complaint said, then ended up on Frampton Street approaching Greenville Avenue.

Clarion police officer William R. Scheckler Sr. was in a patrol unit on Greenville Avenue at Frampton Street in front of the suspect's vehicle, according to the complaint.

Hoffman, the complaint said, slowed down his vehicle and Turnbull's police car bumped Hoffman's vehicle from behind.

The suspect's vehicle then went forward and struck Scheckler’s patrol car, becoming stuck between the two police cars, the complaint said.

Hoffman then placed his vehicle in reverse and rammed Turnbull’s car, the complaint said.

Officers approached the vehicle at gunpoint while Hoffman was still attempting to back up into the police car, according to the complaint.

Police, the complaint said, removed Hoffman from his car and took him into custody.

According to the complaint, a search of the vehicle yielded a drawstring bag containing a plastic cigarette case with five plastic bags of suspected meth marked with the bags’ weights.

A pink wallet ID of Aites' contained several plastic bags and a plastic vial of suspected meth, and a metal tin containing drug paraphernalia and a plastic bag containing a white powder also was seized, according to the complaint.

The bag also contained a wallet with Levi William Zacherl's identification and a pink notebook with a detailed price list of controlled substances, according to the complaint.

Various other drug-related items, including a lock box containing stamp bags, a digital scale and packing material for controlled substances, were also found within the vehicle, the complaint said.

Both Hoffman and Aites are in Clarion County jail — Hoffman was unable to post $200,000 bail and Aites was unable to post $25,000 bail. There was no information on Zacherl's whereabouts.

Preliminary hearings for both Hoffman and Aites are scheduled Nov. 5, with Quinn presiding.