Man jailed after chase that started in Shenandoah and ended on Pennsylvania Turnpike

Sep. 7—SHENANDOAH — A New Jersey man was jailed after leading police on a pursuit that began in Shenandoah and ended on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Lehigh County.

Jose Luis Vazquez-Matos, 35, of 1 Kingsbury Square, Apt. 14-E, Trenton, was charged by Shenandoah police Capt. Travis Bowman with one felony count each of burglary and criminal trespass; and one misdemeanor count each of stalking, loitering and prowling at night, and fleeing or attempting to elude police.

The defendant also faces one summary count each of careless driving and reckless driving.

Vazquez-Matos was arraigned by on-call Magisterial District Judge David A. Plachko, Port Carbon, and committed to Schuylkill County Prison, unable to post $150,000 straight cash bail.

The incidents leading up to the charges began, Bowman said, around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at 22 N. Vine St. in Shenandoah.

Bowman said that he and Patrolman Mindy Petrus were called to the address for a report of a possible breaking and entering in progress.

About an hour earlier, around 9:30 p.m., Bowman said he received a similar report at the same address involving Vazquez-Matos, who was trying to break in.

At the home around 10:30 p.m., Bowman spoke to a woman, who reported Vazquez-Matos was back at the residence and tried to enter through a second-floor window.

Pursuit unfolds

The woman said Vazquez-Matos was "crazy" and that she feared for her and her child's safety, Bowman said.

He said the woman reported she had been in a relationship with Vazquez-Matos but that it ended a few days earlier.

The woman said that Vazquez-Matos would not leave her alone and had been terrorizing her since the breakup, according to Bowman.

She told police that Vazquez-Matos was driving a black Honda Civic that had a New Jersey registration and was missing the back bumper and a tail light.

While looking for the vehicle, Bowman and Petrus spotted it traveling east in the 600 block of West Centre Street and attempted to initiate a traffic stop.

Bowman said that Vazquez-Matos briefly stopped but then sped away, ignoring the police emergency lights and siren.

The man made a left onto Vine Street and then a right back onto Centre Street, traveling east in excess of 80 mph, according to Bowman.

The car was pursued through Shenandoah on Route 54.

Vazquez-Matos eventually turned left toward Mahanoy City, where that borough's police force became involved, Bowman said.

The car continued eastbound on Route 54 at a high rate of speed, passing vehicles in the oncoming lane.

Bowman said that he lost sight of the car on Vulcan Hill in Mahanoy Twp. so terminated the pursuit and notified the Schuylkill County Communications Center.

Taken into custody

About 15 minutes later, West Penn Twp. police tried to stop Vazquez-Matos and began a pursuit when he failed to pull over, Bowman said.

West Penn officers continued to pursue the car until state police from the Fogelsville station became involved.

Bowman said police were able to take Vazquez-Matos into custody after causing him to crash on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

According to online court records, Vazquez-Matos is scheduled to appear at 9:15 a.m. Sept. 28 for a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Anthony J. Kilker, Shenandoah.

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