Jul. 22—FRACKVILLE — A preliminary hearing for a Schuylkill Haven man charged with fleeing from state police was continued Wednesday after technical difficulties prevented a videoconference from taking place with the defendant at State Correctional Institution/Smithfield in Huntington County.
Charles S. Brilla, 29, of 114 Roosevelt St., was scheduled to appear before Magisterial District Judge Thomas H. Xavios on charges of fleeing or attempt to elude police, driving without insurance, driving a vehicle with an expired inspection, recklessly endangering another person, careless driving, flight to avoid apprehension and a number of other traffic violations.
Cpl. Thomas Hornung of the Frackville station charged Brilla with a pursuit that began around 11:10 a.m. March 17 at Walnut and First streets in Ashland.
Xavios, prosecutors and Brilla's attorney, James Conville, waited more than 40 minutes for the videoconference unit to connect with SCI/Smithfield to allow Conville to speak with his client and proceed with a hearing, if Brilla so chose. Unable to connect, Xavios decided to reschedule for sometime in August.
Assistant District Attorney Tom Pellish said Brilla is serving a 1 1/2- to 3-year state sentence after being convicted in August of charges stemming from a similar incident.
In the March incident, Hornung said he noticed a vehicle Brilla was driving had a license plate registered to another vehicle and tried to conduct a traffic stop near the Dutchtown Road and Nater Street. He said Brilla, with two passengers, fled toward Gordon at speeds in excess of the posted limit, allowed his vehicle to cross the double yellow line and passed vehicles in no passing zones. He drove onto Gordon Mountain Road, where he passed several vehicles while going through a construction zone and almost struck a construction truck head on, Hornung said.
He said Brilla continued onto Mount Laffee Road, again passing motorists in no-passing zones. He turned onto Darkwater Road, where he drove over spike strips that had been deployed. His vehicle went into a wooded area and Brilla fled on foot, Hornung said.
Police seized 251 grams of methamphetamine and 154 grams of marijuana, along with scales and packaging items used for the distribution of illegal narcotics, from Brilla's vehicle, Hornung said.