WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. | What started out as a traffic stop in Whitehall Township for a possibly phony registration ended in a chase and the driver crashing into a building in Allentown.
Kareem Mattis, of North Jordan Street in Allentown, faces endangerment and eluding charges in connection with the chase last week that began on Fairmont Avenue and ended with a wreck on Cedar Street in Allentown. District Judge David Howells arraigned the 25-year-old, setting bail at $10,000.
A Whitehall Township police officer was monitoring traffic in the area of Fairmont Avenue and Sixth Street about 11:40 a.m. April 30, when he spotted a car with tinted windows, no inspection or emissions stickers, a tinted license plate and temporary Texas tags, according to the criminal complaint.
Police said there have been several instances of phony temporary Texas registrations in the area.
After the officer stopped the car on Fairmont Avenue near Virginia Avenue, the driver allegedly sped away, hitting speeds of more than 60 mph in a 25-mph zone, according to police. As the car approached MacArthur Road, the driver – later identified as Mattis – crossed into the opposing lane and ignored a red light as he turned south onto MacArthur Road, police said.
As Mattis approached the intersection with Mickley Road, he allegedly drove through a gas station parking lot between 50 and 55 mph and over the sidewalk and curb onto Mickley Road before running another red light continuing south on MacArthur Road.
Police allege Mattis hit speeds of more than 80 mph in a 35-mph zone as he crossed the Sumner Avenue bridge. As he tried to turn right onto Cedar Street, he lost control of the car and crashed into a building.
Mattis managed to push the driver’s door open and run. An officer unsuccessfully used a Taser to stop Mattis, who led police on a chase along Washington, North Pioneer and West Green streets before being taken into custody.
A search of the vehicle turned up a small, empty bottle of Fireball alcohol and a cold, half can of “Natty Daddy.”
Authorities charged Mattis with single felony counts of fleeing and eluding and flight to avoid apprehension and two misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment. He also faces 29 summary traffic offenses, including driving without a license reckless driving. He failed to post bail and was sent to Lehigh County Jail to await a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for May 14.