Driver pleads not guilty in chase, crash into Pittsfield porch


Tuesday October 16, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A man who police say crashed his car into a house during a high-speed chase on Friday is being held without bail following his arraignment in Central Berkshire District Court.

On Monday, Omar R. Johnson, 33, of Prospect Street, denied he was the driver of the Honda CR-V that smashed into the front porch of 257 Dewey Ave. during a police chase through Pittsfield.

He pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including leaving the scene of a property damage accident, reckless driving, failure to stop for the police, resisting arrest and several traffic violations.

According to a Pittsfield Police report, at about 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Johnson failed to yield to a police officer and a pursuit ensued. At one point, Johnson was hitting speeds in excess of 60 mph in a 30 mph zone. He crashed into the house after failing to make the turn from Madison Avenue onto Dewey Avenue.

After the crash, Johnson allegedly fled on foot and across the Housatonic River.

When confronted by police, Johnson allegedly took a "fighting stance" and was Tased by an officer.

Joshua C. Hochberg, representing Johnson for Monday's bail hearing, told the court his client denies the allegations, wasn't the car's driver, and wasn't being confrontational with the officer who Tased him.

"I didn't do anything wrong," Johnson allegedly told the officer just moments before being shocked.

The Berkshire County District Attorney's Office asked the court to revoke Johnson's bail on three other open cases.

Johnson's other cases are from December 2011 and January, and include charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and vandalism. In the assault case, Johnson allegedly attacked an acquaintance with a chair leg.

Judge Paul M. Vrabel revoked Johnson's bail and ordered him held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction. The defendant can be held for up to 60 days without the right to bail. He is scheduled to be back in court on Oct. 26.


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