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Smithton fugitive who fled with girlfriend and crashed car taken into custody, cops say

November 23, 2018

A Smithton man who fled Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Department deputies Oct. 3 as they were about to arrest him on multiple drug-related warrants is being held in the county prison after being apprehended during a stakeout in South Huntingdon.

Sheriff’s department Sgt. Irvin Shipley said in an affidavit filed Tuesday that James A. Hayes, 38, was arrested about 9:30 p.m. Saturday by a team of deputies acting on a tip that he was staying at a residence on Fitz Henry Road.

Shipley reported in court documents that Hayes attempted to run through the rear of the residence and out the back door as deputies arrived. He was met there by an officer pointing a Taser at him. He surrendered.

On Oct. 3, Hayes fled in a car with his girlfriend, Jillian Richter, 32, formerly of Latrobe, as deputies arrived at a home on Motordrome Road near Smithton to arrest him. During a pursuit, Hayes crashed the car into the woods along Smithton Pike. He and Richter fled on foot and eluded capture until Saturday.

District Judge Charles Christner ordered Hayes held in the county prison after he failed to post $50,000 bail.

Deputies also took Richter into custody at the home. She is being held at the prison on a detainer for allegedly harboring a fugitive.

In addition to the original cocaine possession charges filed in June, Hayes was arraigned on multiple charges of flight to avoid apprehension and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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