New Kensington man faces charges of drug possession, fleeing from police

July 31, 2018

A New Kensington man charged with drug distribution and fleeing from police will face those charges in court.

Lebren Taeshawn O’Neal, 27, of of North Bluff Drive, is charged with felony counts of possession with the intent to distribute, fleeing from police custody, and related misdemeanor and summary charges.

O’Neal waived his right to preliminary hearings scheduled for Thursday before District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr. in New Kensington.

Police say O’Neal, on Aug. 15, was seen by New Kensington Police Detective Sgt. Sam Long driving through the city in a rental car. According to court documents Long knew O’Neal’s driver’s license was suspended following a previous DUI conviction. Police confirmed Long’s assertions with PennDOT, according to court documents.

After New Kensington officers and State Police initiated a traffic stop along Freeport Street, they say in court documents that O’Neal rolled down the car window.

“I was initially struck with the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle,” State Trooper Anthony Arbaczewski wrote in court documents.

Arbaczewski told the court that once O’Neal was asked to step out of the car he could smell marijuana on his person. A search of the vehicle followed.

Inside the car, hidden behind the vehicle’s in dash GPS system, officers say they found $1,700 in cash. Police say O’Neal was carrying yet more cash, bringing the total to nearly $3,000, and about 85 grams of what they suspect was crack cocaine.

Police filed charges against O’Neal on Feb. 22, but he was not immediately apprehended.

New Kensington Police Sgt. Kevin Hess wrote in court documents that O’Neal was again seen driving in New Kensington on April 22. Hess attempted a traffic stop. O’Neal sped away, according to Hess, driving at a “very high rate of speed” past a children’s birthday party and numerous other children in the streets and sidewalks. Hess terminated his pursuit and filed flight charges against O’Neal.

O’Neal was taken into police custody on May 2 and bonds for his release set at $25,000 and $10,000. He was released from the Westmoreland County Prison on May 3 after making bond.

O’Neal is scheduled to appear in Greensburg before District Judge Rita D. Hathaway on Oct. 10 for formal arraignment.

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