Jury convicts man of drug possession, fleeing police

| 23 Sep 2015 | 05:04

— A Pike County Jury on Sept. 22 convicted Jorge Arroyo O’Neill, 32, of Springbrook Township of leading the state police on a high-speed chase while in possession of drugs, Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin announced.

Arroyo O’Neill was convicted of speeding away from police on I-84 and SR739, and then fleeing into the woods with heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and $cash. He was convicted of possession with intent to deliver heroin and cocaine, fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest, driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a small amount of marijuana.

During the two-day trial, the district attorney’s office presented evidence that Arroyo O’Neill was driving under the influence of alcohol on SR 739 in Blooming Grove at 2:15 a.m. on June 29, when he was observed by state troopers. When the officers attempted to stop him, he sped onto I-84 headed west. A “pit-maneuver” — a tactic in which a pursuing car can force a fleeing car to abruptly turn sideways — was executed to attempt to bring Arroyo O’Neill’s vehicle to a stop. But then travelled at an even higher rate of speed in the wrong direction on I-84 and down the one way on-ramp, in the wrong direction, back onto SR739.

Arroyo O’Neill eventually stopped his vehicle and fled into the woods in Blooming Grove. The jury was shown a dash-camera video of his flight from the police.

In the woods, Troopers Jeremy Carroll and Mark Pajalich ordered Arroyo O’Neill to stop as he ran through the difficult, dark terrain. When Arroyo O’Neill continued to flee, police used pepper spray and tasers to stop and handcuff him, and take him into custody.

A search of Arroyo O’Neill’s pockets revealed two cellular telephones, $3,630 in cash, 87.5 grams of cocaine, 27.1 grams of heroin, and a small amount of marijuana. At trial, an expert witness from the Pennsylvania State Police Vice Unit, Trooper Gina Tasselmyer, testified that the amount of heroin possessed by Arroyo O’Neill was the equivalent of approximately 1,300 individual packets of heroin with a street value between $13,500 to $20,250. Tasselmyer testified that the cocaine has a street value in excess of $8,700.

Following the verdict of the unanimous jury, Assistant District Attorney Sarah Wilson asked Judge Gregory Chelak to revoke Arroyo O’Neill’s bail because, at time of his arrest in Pike County, he was wanted in Lackawanna County related to felony drug charges. The court granted the request. Arroyo O’Neill will remain incarcerated through sentencing before Judge Chelak on Dec. 3.