Pittsburgh police: Officer struck, vehicle crashes after suspect flees

PITTSBURGH — It was 3:11 in the morning, and we thought we were dreaming of a car crash,” said a Mount Oliver woman who did not want to be identified. “And it ended up being a car crash.”

People who live on Margaret Street heard the crash and saw all the police lights.

“There were a lot of lights. I know that much. Because it lit up the whole woods area here,” said the Mount Oliver resident.

Cellphone video shows a blue Silverado with significant front-end damage being towed from Margaret Street.

“He could have gotten killed easily going over that hill,” said the Mount Oliver resident.

In the daylight, you can see just how steep the drop is over this hill.

“He ended up crashing into the guard rail and hitting the tree, which kept him from going over the hill,” said the Mount Oliver resident. “He was very, very lucky.”

According to the criminal complaint, Pittsburgh police officers were patrolling Brownsville Road in the city’s Carrick neighborhood when they say a dark blue pickup truck crossed into their lane and almost hit them.

The officers stopped the driver for a possible DUI at the intersection of McKinley Street and Grogan Avenue and the driver identified himself as 56-year-old Charles Daniels.

“I guess the guy took off, and they chased him,” said the Mount Oliver resident.

Police say Daniels sped off and hit one of the responding officers in the leg. The criminal complaint states Daniels also hit a parked car on Suncrest Street.

Channel 11 got a hold of exclusive surveillance video showing what happened next. In the video, you can see a police cruiser with its lights flashing. Then, the truck cuts through the parking lot of Vocelli Pizza on Brownsville Road. Another camera records the truck looping around Vocelli before going the wrong way down a one-way street and then onto Margaret Street.

“A lot of people think that you can just go down this street and cut over to Becks Run but you can’t,” said the Mount Oliver resident.

After the crash, officers searched Daniels’ truck. According to the criminal complaint, they found nearly 40 stamp bags of heroin, two crack pipes, a scale and almost $500 in cash.

The criminal complaint states Daniels told police he took off from them because of an active warrant for a previous DUI.

Daniels is facing 24 charges including DUI, aggravated assault, possession with intent to deliver and eluding police.

His criminal history dates back to 1987 with a burglary charge. He had previously been convicted of possession, aggravated assault and escape.