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Lehigh Valley

Man charged in drunken parking lot tussle with police

Officer was investigating a reported hit-and-run

WILSON BOROUGH, Pa. - A Bethlehem man is facing assault charges over an alleged drunken scuffle with police after he was involved in what was described as a hit-and-run accident.

Wilson Borough police charged Joseph T. Hamlin, of East Sixth Street, with aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest and public drunkenness following an encounter Tuesday in the parking lot of an L.A. Fitness. District Judge Nancy Matos-Gonzalez arraigned him late Tuesday night, setting bail at $10,000 with a 10 percent cash option.

A driver approached a borough police officer, who was parked in the Kmart parking lot off 25th Street, about a hit-and-run that had just taken place. He said the other driver had parked next door in the L.A. Fitness lot.

Court records do not indicate where the alleged crash took place.

The officer pulled behind the vehicle and saw the other driver examining the damage, according to court records. Police later identified the man as Hamlin.

Hamlin eventually walked away from the car, returning only after being ordered to do so several times by police. As the officer spoke with him about the incident, Hamlin allegedly became agitated and jammed his finger into the officer’s chest several times, according to records.

A struggle ensued once the officer told Hamlin he was under arrest. The 30-year-old refused to put his hands behind his back, and the officer said it took “substantial force” to subdue him.

The officer scraped his knees as he fought to apprehend Hamlin, who allegedly reeked of alcohol.

Hamlin was sent to Northampton County Prison after failing to post bail. His next court date is a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 16.


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