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Harrisburg police officer and pedestrian injured during pursuit

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 A Harrisburg police officer and a female pedestrian were critically injured in a crash during a police pursuit on Saturday evening.

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It took roughly 3 hours for the jury to decide Christopher Slaughter’s future. He was found guilty on all five counts. The most serious charge is aggravated assault on a police officer. He was convicted of recklessly hitting Harrisburg police officer Daniel Pieper as well as Selena Martin with his car in April of last year. “There is no reason this had to happen. He could have just pulled over and stopped for the police. He ran because he had six point three grams of cocaine he took off at high speed” said Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo.

The guilty verdict was welcome news to both officer Pieper and Martin. “They’ve waited a long long time. There’s been a lot of delay by the defense. And I’m sure they are both gratified to get some closure” said Chardo. Slaughter’s defense attorney, Jay Whittle, had maintained that the officer who initially pulled him over violated policy by never getting approval from a supervisor to pursue Slaughter when he took off. “I think it should some what be common sense that that would be considered at least as a violation of policy. In the end they came back with a guilty verdict” said Whittle.

More than a dozen Harrisburg city cops were also in court showing support for their fellow officer. Slaughter’s older sister Toniesha was also in the courtroom. “Now to have to watch our brother be found guilty, you can’t, I can’t describe the pain. I can’t even describe the feelings that I feel right now” said Toniesha. The families of the victims, and slaughter will never be the same. There’s a mandatory minimum of 10 years that Slaughter will serve. His sentencing has been scheduled for October 14th.

Previous story 8/12:

Back in April of 2013 Christopher Slaughter was involved in a crash that critically injured Harrisburg police officer Daniel Pieper and Selena Martin. “Nobody claims that he did it intentionally, but that’s not what we have to prove” said Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo. In order to prove the charges of aggravated assault, prosecutors do have to make Slaughter’s state of mind clear to the jury when Slaughter refused to stop after being pulled over. “All we have to prove is that he acted recklessly and with extreme indifference to the value of human life. Fleeing from the police at high speed constitutes recklessness” said Chardo.

However the defense attorney, Jay Whittle, said there’s more to the story. “Ultimately this crash did occur, but the police officers involved were also in violation of their own department regulations” said Whittle. Whittle said that the sergeant who initially stopped Slaughter was in a high speed pursuit when Slaughter failed to pull over, but that the sergeant never got approval for the pursuit from a supervisor. Whittle also said he plans to tell the jury it was actually officer Pieper’s driving that caused the crash, not Slaughter’s. “He doesn’t believe he’s the causing factor for the injuries, but he does feel awful that the people are injured, he mentioned that yesterday. He feels that officer piper was the the vehicle that hit him” said Whittle.

Slaughter’s ex wife Latoya has been at the trial since it started and says ultimately three families have been affected. She said “we make mistakes. Things are not intentionally done. Two people got hurt, even if they were bystanders or not I feel for them, as they go through their pain and their injuries and what they’re going through and what their families are going through cause we’re going through something right now as well.” The prosecutor said that the Jury will most likely reach a verdict on Wednesday.

Back in April of 2013 Christopher Slaughter was involved in a crash that critically injured Harrisburg police officer Daniel Pieper and Selena Martin. “Nobody claims that he did it intentionally, but that’s not what we have to prove” said Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo. In order to prove the charges of aggravated assault, prosecutors do have to make Slaughter’s state of mind clear to the jury when Slaughter refused to stop after being pulled over. “All we have to prove is that he acted recklessly and with extreme indifference to the value of human life. Fleeing from the police at high speed constitutes recklessness” said Chardo.

However the defense attorney, Jay Whittle, said there’s more to the story. “Ultimately this crash did occur, but the police officers involved were also in violation of their own department regulations” said Whittle. Whittle said that the sergeant who initially stopped Slaughter was in a high speed pursuit when Slaughter failed to pull over, but that the sergeant never got approval for the pursuit from a supervisor. Whittle also said he plans to tell the jury it was actually officer Pieper’s driving that caused the crash, not Slaughter’s. “He doesn’t believe he’s the causing factor for the injuries, but he does feel awful that the people are injured, he mentioned that yesterday. He feels that officer piper was the the vehicle that hit him” said Whittle.

Slaughter’s ex wife Latoya has been at the trial since it started and says ultimately three families have been affected. She said “we make mistakes. Things are not intentionally done. Two people got hurt, even if they were bystanders or not I feel for them, as they go through their pain and their injuries and what they’re going through and what their families are going through cause we’re going through something right now as well.” The prosecutor said that the Jury will most likely reach a verdict on Wednesday.

“When I heard the bang I looked and I saw the car, the SUV was actually flying in the air” said Selena Martin. That’s the last thing the Harrisburg resident remembered before the SUV landed on top of her in April of last year in Harrisburg. Every day since then has been a struggle. “Broken pelvis in four places, collapsed lungs, broken ribs, broken shoulder, broken spleen, smashed legs, smashed arm” said Martin.

It’s because of this that it’s hard for her to look Christopher Slaughter in the eye. He’s the man prosecutors said was driving the car. The trial began Monday morning with jury selection in the Dauphin County Courthouse. Martin described what it felt like to see Slaughter’s face for the first time in court. “I feel disgusted because doing a little jail time is nothing compared with taking somebody’s life. He could have taken my life” said Martin.

Prosecutors said Slaughter also could have taken the life of Harrisburg police officer Daniel Pieper, who was critically injured in the crash, when Slaughter tried to flee after being pulled over. “I know that Mr. Slaughter was certainly not intending to cause any harm to anyone” said defense attorney Jay Whittle. The Assistant District Attorney said “It’s the whole not the parts. We’re going to present our case and let the jury decide.”

In the meantime Martin is trying to cope with her new reality. “I used to jog. I used to ride a bike. I used to do a whole lot of things and now I can’t do anything” said Martin.

A slew of charges have been filed against the Harrisburg man who led police on a car chase which seriously injured two people.

29 year old Christopher Michael Slaughter’s bail is set at $500,000.00. But the allegations against slaughter could land him life behind bars.

The scene where the accident took place on April 20th has been completely cleaned up, but that doesn’t replace the emotional damage that’s been done.

Tears filled the eyes of Barry Haywood when we told him about the charges filed against the man who seriously injured his wife, Selina Martin.

“I have no words for the guy you know what I mean because it was unnecessary,” says Barry Haywood.

Haywood says his wife is still on a breathing machine, and she’s in and out of consciousness.

“I`m here by myself she`s at the hospital, everytime I go visit her she`s sad upset, in pain, she`s going to be that way for quite some time,” says Haywood.

Both Martin and Harrisburg Police Offcier Daniel Peiper remain at PennState Hershey Medical Center with life altering injuries.

“Mr. Slaughter faces some serious penalties, the aggravated assault charges are felonies which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years,” says Dauphin County District Attorney, Ed Marisco.

Slaughter faces at least 10 charges, and combined, it could land him 100 years behind bars.

“This was a very serious crash,” says Marsico.

Yanny Nguyen lives a block away from the scene. He hasn’t erased the image from the crash.

“I was like amazed, I couldn`t believe I was seeing this…he probably deserves what he`s going to get,” says Nguyen.

There’s no word on the condition of officer Peiper, but Haywood says doctors believe his wife is slowly improving.

There was question earlier whether police officers reached speeds constituting a high speed chase, which is against the law within city limits. District Attorney Marsico says right now that’s the least of worries.

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Charges were filed Thursday against a man accused of leading police on a chase that ended in a crash, injuring two people and a K-9 officer, in Harrisburg on April 20.

Christopher Michael Slaughter, 29, of Harrisburg, is facing a laundry list of charges including reckless endangerment, aggravated assault by vehicle and flight to avoid  apprehension, Dauphin County Court filings show.

Prosecutors allege Slaughter drove off after police attempted to pull him over for a traffic violation along the 2300 block of North 6th Street on the evening of April 20. Slaughter eventually pulled over along the 2500 Lexington Street but sped off as officers exited their vehicles and approached his SUV.

According to the Dauphin County District Attorney’s office, Slaughter hit speeds of 51 mph during the chase and committed numerous traffic violations during the chase.

It all came to and end when Slaughter’s SUV collided with Officer Daniel Peiper’s vehicle on North 6th Street and then slammed into Selina Martin, a pedestrian who was standing on the sidewalk.

Both Officer Peiper and Martin sustained multiple injuries and remain hospitalized at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

Officer Peiper’s K-9 partner, Thor, suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Slaughter remains in Dauphin County Prison on $500,000 bail.

A Harrisburg man is facing an escape charge after fleeing police Saturday evening on Sixth and Forrest Street. A Police SUV and another car collided at the intersection, crushing an innocent neighbor.

The crash has caused potentially thousands of dollars of damage to area businesses.

Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson says a pursuit with police officer Dan Peiper allegedly took place.  Authorities are investigating why Peiper and his K-9, Thor, chased Christopher Slaughter in his car.  The police SUV then collided with the car, and flipped onto neighbor, Salina Martin, who was outside.

Neighbor Koscina Lowe owns a beauty shop next door.  She says, “”When I pulled up she was sweeping at first, I went upstairs to watch TV, then I heard boom, they said she was sitting on the edge of her home…but I heard her she was trapped underneath the car, screaming.”

Lowe questions why she believes police were driving 70 mph in a 25 mph zone.  Mayor Thompson says city police are put in danger every day to protect you.

She says, “They get up every morning with a sense of reason to protect and serve and that’s what our officers do.”

Lowe says, “It’s just a serious tragedy because she didn’t bother anybody.”

Authorities say Slaughter is charged with escape and he remains in Dauphin County Prison.

Thor, the K-9, has been treated and released from Rossmoyne Animal Hospital.

 

By Katie Kyros

After a police crash sent three people and a K-9 dog to the hopsital Saturday night, we’re learning only one person has been able to leave the hospital– the suspect who was the subject of the police chase.

An eyewitness at the scene tells WPMT FOX43 his fiance was the pedestrian trapped under the police car when it flipped over. Her name is Selina Martin.

“She was moving her legs, but she was like, ‘Help me, get me out,’ and I said I can’t, I can’t lift it,” says Barry Haywood, who lives in an apartment over the crash site. “I tried to push the car off myself.”

A chase sent the police car and an SUV slamming into parked cars and buildings.

Martin and the police officer were taken to Hershey Medical Center. The officer is in critical condition and Martin suffered injuries to her spine, heart and ribs.

“I prayed for her last night, cried all last night,” says Haywood, who was with Martin for three surgeries when she was brought to the hospital. “But I can’t even cry no more.”

The suspect was treated and released into custody. The K-9 dog, Thor, suffered head trauma but is recovering.

“From what I understand he is very, very close with his handler, and that is his one and all,” says Sabrena Meyerhoff of Rossmoyne Animal Hospital. “A lot of prayers need to go out to his handler right now.”

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Photo courtesy of Rossmoyne Animal Emergency & Trauma Center

A Harrisburg police K9 is recovering after being involved in a crash on Saturday evening. It happened around 6:30 p.m. near 6th and Forrest Street. A police officer, a pedestrian and a suspect the officer was pursuing were also injured in the crash.

Thor, a 4-year-old German Shepherd, was taken to the Rossmoyne Animal Emergency & Trauma Center for treatment.

He came in with a concussion and some bruising around the spleen/liver area, Sabrena Myerhoff, who with her husband, Mark, a veterinarian, owns the Animal Emergency Center in Lower Allen Township. On Sunday morning, Thor was up walking around and even went outside to go to the bathroom, Myerhoff said.

Thor is expected to make a full recovery but will require weeks of rest before returning to work.

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A Harrisburg police officer and a female pedestrian remain in critical condition following a police chase and crash on Saturday evening. It happened around 6:30 p.m. near 6th and Forrest Streets. A Harrisburg police officer was pursuing a driver of an SUV when the officer’s vehicle crashed and flipped onto its roof.

Authorities say the police officer, who has not been identified, remains in critical but stable condition.

The driver of the SUV was treated and taken into custody, police said. No word yet on the suspects identity.

A female pedestrian was struck by one of the vehicles during the crash.

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Photo courtesy of Rossmoyne Animal Emergency & Trauma Center

A Harriburg police K9 named Thor was also injured in the crash. Thor was taken to the Rossmoyne Animal Emergency & Trauma Center in Lower Allen Township for treatment.

FOX43 News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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