Police now believe a man who was expected to surrender Friday on child sex abuse charges became suicidal Thursday night, got into his vehicle and led police on a chase on Interstate 81 in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.
The chase ended near the Central Scranton Expressway, leaving several wrecked vehicles and some angry drivers.
One of the wrecked cars belongs to Justin Amendolaro of Dunmore.
“I moved over, thinking this guy’s going to hit me. He clipped me and veered into another car, then hit a tractor-trailer,” Amendolaro said.
Police said they were chasing Steven Brown of Kingston. He was set to be in court this week for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage boy.
Police were tipped off that Brown was armed and suicidal and sped off in his car.
Police said by the time Brown crossed into Lackawanna County he was going in and out of consciousness and that he later told troopers he took 60 to 70 pills before getting behind the wheel. Brown will eventually face a long list of additional criminal charges for what happened Thursday night.
Amendolaro is more angry about what could have happened because when Brown came barreling down I-81, Amendolaro was driving with his wife and one-year-old son.
“Just thinking about what could have happened, if I didn’t see him when I did, and I didn’t move over when I did I could have been hit much worse. Just thinking of that, and what this guy was going through and that all this could have been prevented, it really got me going,” Amendolaro added.
Only two of the nine victims in the crashes had to go to the hospital and for only minor injuries.
The suspect is currently at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton and is expected to recover.
Amendolaro said the chase ended in the best possible way.
“A little nerve-racking but I’m thankful my family didn’t get hurt, the other families didn’t get hurt, and the guy was apprehended,” he said.
Police said Steven Brown is required to stay in the hospital for the next 72 hours for psychological evaluation, but when he is released he will face the child sexual abuse charges that were filed Friday and possibly a long list of other charges related to Thursday night’s high-speed chase.