Witness Describes Frightening Moments During Deadly Police Chase

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PITTSTON -- A woman says she feels fortunate not to have been hurt as a police chase raced past her car.

The chase on Thursday started with a bank robbery in Luzerne County and continued into Lackawanna County where police shot and killed the driver.

Barbara Meranti says her commute into work at Majestic Lunch in Pittston was much different than Thursday. She was nearly in a crash with the driver from the police chase through Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties.

"Driving here, my leg was shaking because I just wasn't expecting it to happen and it scared the living daylights out of me," Meranti said.

Police say John Souder had just robbed the M&T Bank branch in Wyoming Thursday afternoon and then led police on a chase through Pittston and Duryea before he ended up in Old Forge. That's when police say he got out of his car holding a gun and was shot. He later died, but before all of that, Meranti says she got a good look at the driver.

"He was smoking a cigarette," she recalled. "That's how close he was. I saw his face and everything."

She tried to get out of the way of the police chase by going on to Columbus Street, but the driver ended up speeding by her on South Main Street, almost clipping the front end of her car.

South Main Street in Pittston is especially busy in the afternoon. Meranti says she's just glad the driver and the officers didn't crash into anyone.

"Be more cautious to your surroundings," she advised. "Anything could happen at any time. You just got to pay attention even more."

The Lackawanna County district attorney is now looking into whether the police shooting that killed John Souder was justified.


  • Patty545

    We have to make sure our police officers can respond with deadly force when appropriate.
    They have to put up with doped up, violent offenders who put the rest of us at risk.

  • whatever831

    If you look at the video from WBRE, you can see blood all over the front seat of the vehicle. Also a gun shot in the front windshield. WBRE is also reported this man died of two gun shot wounds to the head. It looks like he didn’t even get out of the vehicle like WNEP is reporting!

  • Jenson

    What a bad choice for a bank to rob. It’s right in the middle of the shopping center so he couldn’t turn a corner and disappear. The people in the bank saw what car he got into and know what direction he went. Ted idea

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