100 MPH CHASE: Punxsy Man Accused of Passing School Bus, 19 Other Vehicles During High-Speed Motorcycle Pursuit

BELL TWP., Pa. (EYT) — Police say a local man led police on a high-speed motorcycle chase in Bell Township.

Court records show Punxsutawney-based State Police filed criminal charges against 21-year-old Joseph M. Hershberger, of Punxsutawney, in District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock’s office.

The charges stem from an incident that happened around 4:26 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, when Trooper Elliott Neeper observed a maroon Honda motorcycle traveling south on State Route 36, near Smithhill Road in Bell Township, Jefferson County, according to a criminal complaint.

Trooper Neeper started to follow the motorcycle, which then accelerated and passed a silver SUV in a no-passing zone in the area of Rocky Ridge Lane, the complaint states.

Trooper Neeper initiated his overhead lights while continuing to follow the motorcycle, which was traveling at a high rate of speed and failing to stop, the complaint indicates.

The motorcycle then passed a school bus with students in a no-passing zone and a blind hill near Jackson Run Road. It then passed approximately 19 other vehicles at speeds in excess of 100 MPH, five of which were in a no-passing zone, the complaint notes.

The operator of the motorcycle was later identified as Joseph Hershberger, according to the complaint.

The complaint notes that Hershberger “put the public in danger during the chase.”

“He failed to stop for two stop signs, and also did not have valid insurance or registration for the motorcycle, nor did he possess a valid motorcyclist license,” said Trooper Neeper in the complaint.

Hershberger was arraigned on the following charges in front of Judge Mizerock at 8:55 a.m. on March 6:

– Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Officer, Felony 3
– Reckless Driving, Summary
– Careless Driving, Summary
– Use Improper Class of License, Summary
– Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle, Summary
– Passing Where Prohibited, Summary (five counts)
– Duties at Stop Sign, Summary (two counts)
– Limitations on Driving on Left Side of Road, Summary
– Driving at Safe Speed, Summary
– Exceed 55 MPH in Other Loc by 100 MPH, Summary
– Operating a Vehicle without Valid Inspection – Carrier/bus/school Bus, Summary
– Operating a Vehicle without Financial Responsibility, Summary
– Pa Vehicle Registration Expired > 60 Days, Summary
– Display Plate Card in Improper Vehicle, Summary
– Disregard Traffic Lane (Single), Summary
– Turning Movements and Required Signals, Summary (seven counts)

His bail was set at $15,000.00 monetary bail (10%).

He was released after posting a $1,500.00 cash security.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 16, at 11:30 a.m. with Judge Mizerock presiding.


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