WEST BRUNSWICK TWP., Pa. - Two men are in custody after a nearly 20-mile-long high-speed chase and a subsequent search shut down a busy stretch of highway between Pottsville and Reading.
Damar Coad, 19, of Reading, and John Luis-Fidanqui-Marten, 18, of New York City, were involved in an armed robbery in Frackville, Schuylkill County, Wednesday night, according to a news release from the Pennsylvania State Police.
The suspects fled in a vehicle south on Route 61, but the vehicle soon became disabled, the police said.
"They fled from their vehicle at that point," said PSP Trooper David Beohm, a public information officer for Reading-based Troop L. "After fleeing from their vehicle, we went up there. We had the helicopter up there looking, trying to find these two guys."
Authorities shut down Route 61 South between Route 895 in West Brunswick Township, Schuylkill County, and Lowland Road in Tilden Township, Berks County, while the police continued their search through the night.
"Our officers were dispatched out onto state Route 61 in the area between Lowland Road and Port Clinton Avenue to assist with personnel, traffic control, possibly locating the subject or subjects that were involved in this," said Chief Anthony Kuklinski, Hamburg Police Department.
Those who live in the Deer Lake area of southern Schuylkill County described a nerve-wracking scene, as they were told to lock their doors and stay inside while a state police helicopter hovered overhead.
As daylight broke, so did the search.
"I believe there may have been a break from when we left and then when we were called out," Beohm said. "Somebody saw them."
The police said they found and arrested both men around 7:45 a.m. They were committed to the Schuylkill County Jail on multiple counts of theft, aggravated assault, and fleeing and eluding police. A judge set their bail at $250,000 each.