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WHITAKER, Pa. (KDKA) — The Rankin Bridge was closed for nearly three hours early Wednesday morning after a police chase suspect was cornered.
“It was a critical incident. It was a critical situation for everyone. No one wants to see this young man take his own life,” said Chief Ryan Wooten, of the Rankin Police Department.
According to police, it all started when an officer spotted a vehicle making an illegal left turn onto East Fifth Avenue from the Frank Miller ramp around 2:30 a.m.
The officer attempted to stop the vehicle, but the suspect turned around in the Speedway gas station parking lot. The suspect began traveling west on Fifth Avenue before merging onto the Duquesne-McKeesport Bridge.
The suspect has since been identified as Jerron Thomas, 24, of Pittsburgh.
Officers attempted to catch up to the vehicle along Route 837, but were unsuccessful. Eventually, Thomas crashed into a utility pole at the East Mifflin Road intersection and fled on foot into a wooded area.
Police established a perimeter and spotted Thomas on the Rankin Bridge. As officers approached, Thomas began to run and jumped over the railing of the bridge. He held onto the railing as negotiations with police were conducted.
Thomas ultimately surrendered peacefully after taking on the phone with his mother.
“So, from there, they were able to talk to him. He was able to talk to his mom, she was able to reason with this young man, and get him back over the railing,” said Chief Wooten.
No injuries were reported.
Police also recovered a stolen .40-caliber gun from the vehicle.
Thomas has a prior robbery conviction which makes him a person prohibited by law from having gun.
“The bright side of this, the young man did not take his life. No officer got hurt, no one got hurt, everyone went home. So that’s the shining star part of this incident,” said Chief Wooten.
Thomas is being held in the Allegheny County Jail on $30,000 bond. He is facing a list of charges including, fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest, several traffic violations and various weapons violations.