Officer dragged by fleeing vehicle

An Avalon police officer escaped without injury, although he was dragged some 20 feet by a vehicle he was attempting to stop last Saturday night.

The man behind the wheel of that car led officers from multiple jurisdictions on a chase through the City of Pittsburgh and North Hills before being stopped and taken into custody.

The incident began just before 1 a.m. when Avalon officers were dispatched to Center Avenue for a reported burglary in progress. Police say they were told that a man had entered the residence and begun moving items outside.

The suspect was identified as Larry Hood, 57, of Center Avenue. Police say he had fled the scene on foot before they arrived, but that they knew that he parked his vehicle on nearby Frederick Street. A search of Frederick Street, police say, found Hood backing a car out of a driveway.

Police say that Hood refused to comply with multiple orders to turn off the car and get out. At that point, Avalon officer Walt Johnson reached inside the car to turn off the ignition. Police say Hood accelerated, dragging Johnson about 20 feet into a guardrail. Avalon officer Chris Brown is reported to have fired three shots at the car, with no effect. Hood pulled away and began a car chase that traveled into Ben Avon Heights, onto Camp Horne Road and I-279 and then into Ross and the City of Pittsburgh.

City police set up a spike strip at the Venture Street ramp on I-279 that is reported to have flattened one rear tire. Another tire, on the front passenger side, was flattened by a second spike strip set up at the East Street exit.

Despite the flat tires, Hood continued to drive around the city streets until an Avalon police car got ahead of him on East Street and was able to force Hood’s vehicle into the curb, where he was arrested.

The entire incident took about 15 minutes, and involved officers from Avalon, Bellevue, Ohio Township, West View, Ross Township, the City of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania State Police.

Hood was taken first to a hospital to check for injuries, and then to the Allegheny County Jail.

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