Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Shenandoah Burglary Suspect Leads Police in High Speed Pursuit to the Pennsylvania Turnpike

A suspect in a burglary in Shenandoah led police in pursuit overnight that ended on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

According to court documents, on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, at approximately 10:30 PM, Shenandoah Police Captain Travis Bowman, accompanied by Patrolman Mindy Petrus, responded to a radio dispatch reporting a possible breaking and entering in progress on North Vine Street.

This incident marked the second visit to the same address that evening for Captain Bowman. At around 9:30 PM, Captain Bowman had previously received a similar radio dispatch regarding an attempted break-in by Jose Vazquez-Matos, who had fled the scene before the police arrived.

Upon returning to the scene, officers spoke with the caller, who identified Jose Vazquez-Matos, a 35-year-old resident of Trenton, NJ, as the person attempting to gain entry through a second-floor window. The caller, who resided in the house, expressed fear for herself and her family, describing Vazquez-Matos as relentless in his harassment. She revealed that Vazquez-Matos had previously broken a window in an attempt to enter her home.

The caller explained that she had been in a relationship with Vazquez-Matos but had recently ended it. Despite the breakup, Vazquez-Matos continued to pursue her. She informed the police that Vazquez-Matos was operating a black Honda Civic with New Jersey registration, noting that the vehicle was missing its rear bumper and had a broken taillight.

While patrolling the area in search of the described vehicle, Captain Bowman spotted the Honda Civic, driven by Vazquez-Matos, traveling eastbound in the 600 block of West Centre Street. Bowman activated his emergency lights and initiated a vehicle stop in the Boyers Markets parking lot at 600 West Centre Street.

However, the vehicle only briefly stopped before speeding away at a high rate of speed. Vazquez-Matos ignored police orders, making a left turn onto South Vine Street and then a right turn onto West Centre Street. He continued east on West Centre Street at speeds exceeding 60 MPH, eventually reaching State Route 54.

The pursuit continued onto State Route 54 into Mahanoy City, with Vazquez-Matos passing multiple vehicles in the oncoming westbound lane. As the vehicle left Mahanoy City, Captain Bowman lost visual contact with it on Vulcan Hill Road. Bowman decided to discontinue the pursuit and informed radio dispatch of the possible direction of travel.

Approximately 15 minutes later, the West Penn Township police attempted to stop Vazquez-Matos's vehicle, initiating another pursuit when he refused to yield. The pursuit continued until the Pennsylvania State Police at Fogelsville joined the pursuit traveling down Route 309, to Route 100, to Interstate 78. State police eventually took Vazquez-Matos into custody after executing a pit maneuver on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  The pursuit was estimated at 50 miles long.

Captain Bowman has charged Vazquez-Matos with felony burglary, felony criminal trespass, misdemeanor stalking, loitering and prowling at night, as well as careless and reckless driving. Additional charges are pending from the pursuit.

Jose Vazquez-Matos was arraigned early Wednesday morning by on-call Magisterial District Judge Dave Plachko, Port Carbon. He has been remanded to Schuylkill County Prison with bail set at $150,000 in cash.