By Karen Blackledge
The Daily Item
DANVILLE — A drunken driver tried to lose a Mahoning Township car by traveling 100 mph through two counties in a chase that ended with the suspect intentionally ramming the cruiser, police report.
Jerry Bonilla Jr., 23, of Lancaser, also hit two parked vehicles, drove the 1998 Honda without its owner's permission and spat numerous times inside a Danville cruiser after he was arrested, police say.
Bonilla, whose past includes convictions for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, was also driving with a suspended license Friday morning when he intentionally backed into the driver's side of the cruiser early Friday morning.
Patrolman Chris Prescott, the driver of the Mahoning Township cruiser, said he was sore after being pinned inside his police car.
It was Prescott who at 3:51 a.m. received a report of an erratic driver traveling north on Route 11.
The patrolman got behind the Honda and said he saw it cross onto the road's shoulder three times. Prescott attempted to stop Bonilla on Route 11, north of Woodbine Lane and south of the line between Mahoning and Cooper townships in Montour County.
Bonilla eventually pulled onto the road's shoulder in Cooper Township.
As Prescott parked his cruiser, Bonilla accelerated north on Route 11. Prescott resumed the chase with his emergency lights flashing and siren sounding. Bonilla traveled in excess of 100 mph, crossed into Columbia County, turned onto Route 42 south and traveled to Catawissa borough, police report.
On Route 42 to Catawissa, Bonilla made a hard left turn and crashed into two vehicles parked in a private lot, police said.
It was then that Bonilla rammed Prescott's cruiser, police report. Prescott could not get out because his door was pinned shut. A responding Catawissa patrolman, who witnessed the accident and had been alerted of the chase by the 911 Center, was able to apprehend Bonilla.
Bonilla, who police said had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, was placed in the back of a Danville police cruiser that had responded to the accident in Catawissa.
Bonilla was unruly and spit numerous times in the Danville cruiser, Prescott said.
Suspect refused breath test, cops say
At the DUI Booking Center in Bloomsburg, Bonilla was asked to provide a breath sample, was informed of the penalties if he chose not to, and then refused.
Honda owner Kelly Culbertson of Sunbury, said Bonilla took her car without her knowledge, Prescott said.
Bonilla's driving record showed he was driving on a photo identification card and his certified driving record shows his license was suspended, according to the charges.
Prescott charged Bonilla with two counts of aggravated assault, receiving stolen property, simple assault, fleeing or attempting to elude police, drunk driving, driving without a license, driving while his license was suspended, criminal mischief and tampering with property and recklessly endangering another person.
Mahoning Township police Chief David Shope Jr. and Cpl. Clay Fahringer brought Bonilla to be arraigned later Friday morning before Montour County District Judge Marvin Shrawder. Shrawder committed him to the county jail in default of $75,000 bail.
Court records show Bonilla has previous convictions for offenses ranging from unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, simple assault, and receiving stolen property.
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