State Police launch internal review after woman accused of stealing patrol car
HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Police will conduct an internal protocol review after they say a woman arrested for robbery managed to get out of her handcuffs and steal a patrol car before leading police on a dangerous high-speed chase down the Turnpike on Wednesday.
According to police, Sarah Miller was arrested near Breezewood after she got in two different cars, threatened the drivers and stole one of their phones. Police said they arrested her, cuffed her and put her in the front seat of a patrol car.
In an interview Thursday with 6 News, Trooper Joseph Dunsmore, public information officer for Troop G Hollidaysburg, said putting a suspect in the front seat is protocol when a car doesn't have a security cage separating the front and back seats, which is the case for roughly half of State Police patrol cars.
Dunsmore said police don't yet know exactly how Miller got her handcuffs off, but the months-long internal review will involve interviews with all the troopers involved. Dunsmore added that preliminarily it looks like proper protocol was followed.
According to police, Miller stole the patrol car and led them on a breakneck pursuit west from Breezewood toward Somerset, passing an unrelated deadly tractor-trailer accident that had shut down part of the highway and snarled traffic for hours.
Dunsmore said police used a spike strip to try and slow Miller down, but she quickly regained control of the car. According to police, she hit two other cars and attempted to ram into state troopers. Eventually, Dunsmore said, police got authorization to conduct a PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver on her patrol car, meaning they used another car to spin her out near the Allegheny Tunnel, 40 miles from where she started.
Miller has been arraigned on one set of charges so far having to do with the alleged robbery, but the escape and pursuit charges will come in a second arraignment, Dunsmore said.