Pa. Officer Hurt Chasing Suspect Off 22-Foot Overpass

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. --

A suspect has died and a Cranberry Township police officer remains in a Pittsburgh hospital after a car chase that started in Allegheny County and ended on Interstate 79 in Butler County, Channel 4 Action News' Shannon Perrine reported.

State police said a Sewickley Heights officer approached a parked SUV along Blackburn Road at about 10:30 p.m. Monday, and Thomas William Booth was sleeping inside. When the 22-year-old Volant man woke up, he refused to cooperate and drove away, police said.

The pursuit covered 20 miles, going through two counties and involving five police departments as it continued into Jackson Township and reached speeds of up to 100 mph on I-79, police said.

Police deployed spike strips to stop Booth's SUV in Jackson Township. Police said the man's tires deflated and his vehicle collided with a Cranberry Township police car two miles north of the Evans City exit at the Tollgate Road overpass.

"After the stop, the subject got out of the car. He jumped over the jersey barrier to flee on foot. He apparently didn't know it was a 22-foot drop. He fell down. An officer from Cranberry Township also ran on foot after him, jumped over the jersey barrier and fell 22 feet also," state police Cpl. Bradley Christie said.

Booth was flown by medical helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said Booth died in the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

The injured police officer, identified as Cpl. Dan Hahn, was transported by medical helicopter to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Hahn, a 21-year veteran, underwent surgery for neck and back injuries.

The Cranberry Police Department told Perrine that Hahn is an aggressive officer who's anxious to get back to work, and they are not surprised that he acted the way he did.

Police said that Booth told them he drank eight beers before passing out in the parked car.

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