Cops: Newport Township man leads police on three-county pursuit

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
Banks -

PLAINS TWP. — A high-speed chase that involved a crash into a township police cruiser ended in Monroe County early Friday when authorities flattened a tire on a luxury car.

Christopher Banks, 36, of Newport Township, allegedly was at the wheel of the 2012 Lincoln MKZ during the pursuit across three counties. It started in Wilkes-Barre just after 2:30 a.m.

Despite gunshots and the accident, no injuries were reported, police said.

The pursuit began in the area of East Main and Mayock streets in Wilkes-Barre after officers were flagged down by a motorist. They said the motorist claimed Banks, who was driving behind him, fired shots at his vehicle.

Police spotted Banks holding a handgun and ordered him to show his hands. The suspect responded by reversing his vehicle, nearly striking an officer and crashing into a cruiser, according to a criminal complaint.

Banks sped away, police said, leading to a pursuit on East Main Street, crossing Route 315 onto Jumper Road and East Mountain Boulevard. He then continued onto East Mountain Boulevard, turning onto Route 115 and northbound on Interstate 81.

Police said speeds reached in excess of 120 mph.

Banks exited the interstate at Avoca, drove around the roundabout and got back onto the interstate, continuing north into Lackawanna County, the complaint states. Banks then turned onto Interstate 84 and turned south onto Interstate 380.

An officer with the Mount Pocono Regional Police Department employed spike strips on I-380 that flattened the left front tire on Banks’ vehicle, police said. Banks was arrested when he brought the disabled Lincoln to a stop along the highway.

Banks and two female passengers were detained and transported to the Plains Township Police Department for questioning.

Banks emitted a strong odor of alcoholic beverage when he spoke, had bloodshot eyes and slurred his speech, police said, adding that he refused to submit to a blood-alcohol test.

Banks was treated at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township after he complained of back pain.

He was arraigned by District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr. on charges of aggravated assault, fleeing or attempting to elude police, illegal possession of a firearm, firearms not to be carried without a license, carrying a loaded weapon, reckless endangerment, escape, DUI, driving with a suspended license and two traffic citations. Police said he may face additional charges pending an ongoing investigation.

Banks was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility without bail.

In an unrelated case, Banks was sentenced in April 2017 to five years on probation after he pleaded guilty to terrorizing his family with a handgun inside a Sugar Notch apartment in March 2015, court records say.

An arrest warrant was issued for Banks in October 2015 when he failed to appear for trial in Luzerne County. He was captured by U.S. Marshals in East Stroudsburg in January 2017.


By Ed Lewis

[email protected]