A Bradford man is in McKean County Jail after he allegedly stole a vehicle and crashed it into a tree early Halloween morning.
Charles M. Johnson Jr., 23, of 9 Melvin Ave., was arraigned Saturday morning before District Judge Dominic Cercone on charges of theft by unlawful taking, a third-degree felony; unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a second-degree misdemeanor; summary charges of driving while license is suspended or revoked, disregard traffic lane, driving at a safe speed, accidental damage to unattended vehicle or property, driving without a license and failure to use a safety belt.
According to the criminal complaint, at 4:03 a.m. Oct. 31, Lewis Run-based state police were dispatched to 1465 South Ave., Lewis Run Borough, for a report of a one-vehicle crash.
At the scene, police found a red Mitsubishi Outlander that had crashed front-first into a pine tree in front of a residence. The alleged operator — Johnson — fled before emergency personnel arrived, the complaint stated.
During the investigation, police learned that a Lewis Run resident told the fire chief that Johnson had knocked on her door and told her he needed a ride, court records indicated. Troopers went to the address, but Johnson had fled before they got there.
At 5:18 a.m. Oct. 31, the vehicle owner called state police to report that her vehicle was stolen from her residence, the complaint stated.
As troopers canvassed the area, they found another borough resident who reported that a man — who he identified as Johnson via a PA identification card picture — knocked on his door looking for a ride to a residence by the airport due to being in a crash. Johnson fled that home before police arrived, according to court records.
In the early morning hours on Saturday, Nov. 28, law enforcement pulled over a vehicle for a traffic violation and found that Johnson was a passenger in the vehicle. In a subsequent interview with state police, Johnson said that on Oct. 31 he was driving and struck a tree because he swerved to miss a deer in the road. He said he fled because he was scared, the complaint stated.
According to court records, Johnson was not supposed to be driving because he had a second offense DUI.
Johnson is in McKean County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 14.