Man accused in multiple attempted carjackings arrested

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WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. —

A 30-year-old Smithton man was jailed on $250,000 bond Tuesday morning after hijacking a sport utility vehicle in Herminie and unsuccessfully attempting a second carjacking in Westmoreland County late Monday, police said.

Jason Walters is charged by state police with robbery, robbery of a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, theft, receiving stolen property, reckless endangerment and simple assault.

“It appears to be completely random. We are still investigating the circumstances,” said Trooper Steve Limani, a spokesman at the Greensburg barracks.

Investigators said he first carjacking occurred at the Buy & Fly Exxon on Highland Avenue in Herminie at 9:15 p.m.

According to Trooper Robert Harr, a woman and her 6-year-old daughter were in a 2007 sport utility vehicle when Walters approached from the rear parking lot, punched the driver‘s side window and demanded that the driver get out of the vehicle.

The man opened the driver‘s side door, grabbed the woman and tried to pull her out of the vehicle as he told her to “get the (expletive) out of the car ... and get your (expletive) kid,” according to an affidavit of probable cause filed before West Newton District Judge Charles Christner.

The victim told police she got her daughter and the man drove away.

About 4 miles away, Walters tried to grab a car in Sewickley Township, police said.

A female motorist told Harr the man was driving a dark sport utility vehicle as he passed her while driving erratically on the wrong side of the road. He pulled in front of her and blocked her path near the covered bridge on Bells Mill Road, police said.

The man exited the SUV, approached her car and demanded she exit.

The victim told police the man grabbed her shirt and began attempting to pull her out, but she was able to drive away in her Ford Focus and call police.

Another man told police he was traveling on Derr Road and his pickup truck was rammed twice from the back by a black sport utility vehicle, which then fled.

Troopers learned the stolen sport utility vehicle was abandoned and parked at the Flying J truck stop in Smithton. An unidentified man at the truck stop reported Walters approached him and “anxiously” asked for a ride to Smithton.

“The male declined to give a ride to Walters,” Harr wrote in the affidavit.

Troopers subsequently drove to Walters‘ residence and he was “sitting on the porch and he was bleeding from his head” and “drinking a can of beer,” Harr reported.

Police said Walters became combative when he was questioned and then taken into custody.

One of the victims identified Walters as her assailant, Harr reported.

Walters served a four- to 23-month sentence jail sentence in 2011 for resisting arrest by Smithton police. He is awaiting trial on charges of theft and receiving stolen property filed by Smithton police.

Police said the sport utility vehicle Walters is accused of stealing sustained “heavy front end damage.”

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11.

This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.