Police: Public Pot Smoking Leads to Chase
Phillipsburg man charged after smoking marijuana in front of police, and leading them on a foot chase.
A man walked down the 1400 block of Liberty Street in Easton Friday night smoking what appeared to be – and smelled like – marijuana.
That attracted the attention of city police, who ended up chasing the man down Liberty Street and through yards before capturing him with a tackle and finding quantities of heroin, crack cocaine and a painkiller on him, court records say.
Patrolman Joseph Arredondo says in a criminal complaint that he was in plain clothes in an unmarked car with another officer around 8:15pm when they saw the suspect, Mark Aaron Howey, 30, of Phillipsburg walking down Liberty Street and through an open window smelled burning marijuana.
”Easton Police Stop,” Arredondo told Howey, who looked at the officer and began to slowly turn away.
This time Arredondo yelled, “Easton Police STOP,” and Howey started running east on Liberty.
Arredondo chased Howey on the sidewalk and saw the man's hat and sunglasses fly off. He also saw Howey discard what is believed to be the marijuana cigarette.
The officer issued “multiple verbal commands” for Howey to stop but he ignored them and ran into the roadway and down the middle of Liberty Street. He then crossed the roadway and ran through a yard. Arredondo tried to push him down on the grass, but instead he and Howey “stumbled” through the yard and continued running.
Howey ran across N. 14th Street into a front yard, but Arredondo was able to tackle him there.
He handcuffed Howey and found two wax-paper packets containing heroin on him. He also found 16 bags of crack cocaine, a 500 mg pill of acetaminophen-hydrocodone, also known as Vicodin, and a cell phone. The 16 bags were in a larger clear plastic sandwich bag.
Howey, of 374 S. Main St. in the Warren County town, was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
He was arraigned late Friday by on-duty District Judge Robert Hawke of LehighTownship and committed to Northampton County Prison after failing to post $50,000 bail.