HAZLETON — A police cruiser operated by the city’s police chief was struck during a pursuit early Monday morning.
Police Chief Jerry Speziale in a news release stated officers responded to a report of gunfire in the area of Peace and 11th streets at about 11:55 p.m. Sunday. When no evidence of a shooting was found, Speziale allegedly spotted a drug transaction involving a Ford Edge in the area of Arthur and Diamond avenues at about 12:40 a.m.
There appeared to be bullet holes in the Ford, the news release says.
Speziale stated the driver of the Ford sped away initiating a pursuit for several blocks.
During the pursuit, the rear passenger discarded a 9mm semi-automatic handgun that was later recovered in the area of North Lee Court and 12th Street. The handgun had an altered serial number, the news release says.
State police troopers and police from Butler Township and West Hazleton assisted during the pursuit.
The driver of the Ford, identified as Erickson Antonio Diaz, 18, and a passenger, Angel Perez, 19, abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. The Ford remained in gear and rolled into a cruiser operated by Speziale, who blocked the intersection at North Manhattan Court and 12th Street.
A 17-year-old male juvenile passenger was arrested at the scene by Speziale.
Diaz was captured on West 11th Street and Perez was caught between 10th and 11th streets, the news release says.
Speziale stated a fully loaded 30 round magazine and marijuana were allegedly found in the Ford.
Diaz is charged with fleeing and eluding law enforcement and numerous traffic offenses and Perez is facing numerous firearm offenses, Speziale stated.