Oil City man accused of fleeing from police

An Oil City man is facing charges of fleeing an officer and evading arrest on foot, as well as several traffic violations, after a brief car chase in Oil City.

Franklin state police said in a criminal complaint that at about 1:40 p.m. Feb. 16, troopers parked in a patrol vehicle began following a red Chevrolet Cobalt traveling south on Spring Street that was being driven by 26-year-old Devin Michael Stephens.

The vehicle, which had a “loud modified exhaust” and was also carrying a female passenger, then turned east on Harriott Avenue and took off “at a high rate of speed,” at which point troopers activated emergency lights and sirens to initiate a traffic stop, the complaint said.

Stephens, still continuing at a high rate of speed and ignoring the patrol car’s emergency signals, turned south on East Bissell Avenue, east on Carroll Avenue and finally north on Smithman Street, failing to use turn signals, the complaint said.

Stephens then stopped the vehicle “abruptly” on the side of the road and fled south on foot, ignoring verbal commands to stop, and troopers ended a short foot pursuit after losing sight of him, according to the complaint.

Police learned Stephens’ identity from the passenger, who said she had been telling Stephens to stop and didn’t know why he had fled, the complaint said.

The vehicle was found to have an invalid inspection sticker and bald rear tires, and police found upon investigation that Stephens’ driver’s license was suspended; a medical marijuana card belonging to Stephens was also found on the front seat of the car, according to the complaint.

Police said Stephens was later taken into custody at his East Bissell Avenue residence.

Stephens is facing a felony count of fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, a misdemeanor count of evading arrest or detention on foot, and several summary traffic violations, according to the complaint. He was arraigned before District Judge Andrew Fish on Feb. 16 and is being held in Venango County Jail, unable to post bail.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Venango County Central Court.