Pittsfield man charged in high-speed police chase

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PITTSFIELD — A city man who was recently released from jail is facing weapons charges after leading police on a high-speed chase through the city Friday morning.

Ronald Johnson, 23, was driving a vehicle with an expired inspection sticker about 9:25 a.m. when he pulled in front of police in the area of Tyler Street and Woodlawn Avenue, police said.

When police initiated a traffic stop on Parker Street, Johnson sped up and refused to stop, police said. He continued down Dalton Avenue, reaching speeds of up to 80 mph, "weaving in and out of traffic, having no regard for traffic lights and signs," and almost causing numerous collisions.

Police lost sight of the car in the area of Junction Road, but other drivers directed officers toward Johnson's car, which was parked on April Lane.

With the aid of a search dog, officers located Johnson and a male passenger in nearby Kirvin Park, where they were placed in custody. The passenger was not charged, police said.

"I didn't do anything," Johnson told police while being taken into custody. "I wasn't even driving; I wasn't in the car."

A search of Johnson's belongings yielded a double-sided stiletto switchblade as well as a flashlight-style electronic stun gun, police said.

Johnson pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday to charges of failure to stop for police, carrying a dangerous weapon, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license (subsequent offense), operating a motor vehicle with no inspection sticker and disturbing the peace.

Prosecutors requested $10,000 bail because Johnson is on probation on assault and battery charges, and because he fled from police while in possession of a pair of weapons.

Judge Patrick Sabbs set bail at $10,000 and scheduled a July 12 pretrial hearing.

Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.


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