Pittsfield man bound over on traffic, weapons charges

A Pittsfield man faces further court action after a preliminary hearing Wednesday before District Justice Laura Bauer.

She found there was enough evidence against Jared L. Camp, 21, accused of felony firearms violations and attempting to elude police to send him on to the Warren County Court of Common Pleas. Camp also faces misdemeanor charges of prohibited offensive weapons and two counts of reckless endangerment, and 11 summary traffic violations.

At Wednesday’s hearing, witnesses testified that Camp was driving in excess of 100 miles per hour at about 8:40 p.m. Aug. 6, 2014 on both Route 6 and National Forge Road in Irvine with police in pursuit.

Warren-based Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Greg Murphy testified that he clocked a dark-colored Ford Mustang at 109 miles per hour near the Forge curve.

Both Murphy and Trooper Josh White, who was in a marked police cruiser next to Murphy’s, said they pursued the Mustang, which had slowed initially then accelerated again once the cruisers pulled onto the highway.

“He immediately stepped on the brakes… the inertial slow-down,” Murphy said. “Once we pulled out and activated lights and sirens, it was observable that he increased his speed.”

“I saw the rear of the vehicle sink down and I could tell he was taking off,” White said.

According to White, the troopers’ vehicles are equipped with video cameras that save information that is on camera one minute before the lights and sirens are activated and continue recording.

Both troopers testified that the Mustang’s lights were on at the beginning of the pursuit but were turned off shortly after the vehicle left Route 62.

“It turned right on National Forge Road and at that point turned out its lights,” White said.

The car had a lead of upwards of 100 yards and the troopers said they could only see it clearly when the brake lights were activated.

The troopers said they lost sight of it at the sharp turn in Irvine at Dunns Eddy Road. The troopers testified that they continued on National Forge Road for a mile or more before coming back to Irvine.

Murphy said dispatch notified the troopers that a caller said a dark-colored Mustang was stuck in the back yard of a Depot Street home.

Both troopers said they found Camp out of the vehicle at that address.

They talked with him and, according to Murphy, Camp said he was the driver of the car that passed the troopers on Route 6.

Murphy testified that he asked Camp if he had any weapons on him or in the car.

“He had a loaded .357 Magnum in the glove box, and a fully-loaded Beretta 9 mm in the trunk,” Murphy said. “He also had several semi-automatic rifles in the back.” The rifles were not loaded.

Murphy said he also confiscated a “four-inch switchblade” – a prohibited offensive weapon – from Camp.

Assistant District Attorney Rick Hernan asked Murphy whether Camp was the registered owner of the firearms, however, he posed the question after Camp’s attorney, Chad Velushis, had conducted cross-examination without asking about the registration.

“I strongly object,” Velushis said. “He’s outside the rules. He is bound by the questions that I asked during cross.”

Although Hernan argued that the rules are slackened during preliminary hearings, Bauer sustained the objection.

Hernan asked the next witness, White, the same question.

Velushis objected that White’s knowledge of the situation was hearsay.

Hernan said hearsay evidence is allowable in preliminary hearings.

Bauer overruled the objection and White said he heard Camp say he did not have a permit for the guns.

During the pursuit, Camp’s vehicle passed at least two cars on Route 6 and a pedestrian on National Forge Road, White said.

“The court has heard sufficient evidence to bind the defendant over on all charges today,” Bauer said.

Camp is scheduled for a formal arraignment at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, in the Warren County Courthouse Main Courtroom.