Driver faces 80 charges after 4-county chase that began in Schuylkill

Sep. 7—A South Carolina man is facing charges by state police at Schuylkill Haven following a high-speed chase that started in West Brunswick Twp. around 7 p.m. Monday and traveled through four counties.

Clifford L. Gavin, 51, of Vance, was charged by Trooper Bradley Tymchyshyn with 80 counts.

The charges included fleeing or attempting to elude police; exceeding the speed limit by more than 55 mph; unsafe passing; and numerous lane violations.

Tymchyshyn said the charges are the result of an incident that began around 6:55 p.m. when a "be on the lookout" was broadcast for a silver Dodge Durango.

The SUV was reported involved in a retail theft incident at Kohl's department store in Norwegian Twp.

Tymchyshyn said police saw a vehicle matching the description traveling at a high rate of speed in West Brunswick, determined the registration came back to a 2009 Honda sedan and attempted to conduct a traffic stop.

The driver, later identified as Gavin, refused to stop, continued south on Route 61 and then entered Interstate 78 east, traveling through Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties.

State police from the Hamburg, Fogelsville and Belfast stations assisted by using spike strips and were successful in slowing Gavin down.

Police subsequently performed a pit maneuver, a pursuit intervention technique in which a police vehicle forces a fleeing vehicle to turn sideways abruptly, causing the driver to lose control and stop.

Tymchyshyn said the maneuver caused Gavin to lose control, strike a guide rail along the right side of the road and then run into a guide rail along the left side of the road.

Police said that Gavin slowly complied with verbal commands and was subsequently taken into custody.

Tymchyshyn said additional items were found inside the vehicle from various home improvement stores and that the investigation into those items is continuing.

Gavin was arraigned Monday by on-call Magisterial District Judge David J. Rossi, Tremont, and committed to Schuylkill County Prison, unable to post $200,000 straight cash bail.

Rossi scheduled a preliminary hearing for Gavin for 9 a.m. Sept. 13 before Magisterial District Judge Andrew J. Serina, Orwigsburg.