Lawrence Willard Morrissey Jr., 33, of Altoona, was involved in attempting to elude Pennsylvania State Police on January 6, during an incident that originated near the Sheetz store in Bellwood. At the time of the incident the pursuing State Police officer was unaware of the fact that Morrissey had an outstanding felony warrant for a robbery that occurred and had been issued for his arrest out of the Altoona Police Department.
January 6, at a approximately 2 a.m., state police observed a blue Toyota Corolla bearing Nevada license plates leaving the Bellwood Sheetz parking lot at a high rate of speed and turning right onto East Pleasant Valley Blvd. State police then observed the vehicle immediately turning into a residential driveway where police did not think that it belonged.
Police turned the patrol vehicle around and began traveling north on East Pleasant Valley Blvd. where they observed the vehicle back out of the driveway onto East Pleasant Valley Blvd. and turn right heading north towards I-99. The Corolla then turned right onto the southbound lanes of I-99 and began traveling at a high rate of speed. Police began to catch up with the vehicle and attempted to initiate a traffic stop by utilizing both the patrol lights and the siren on I-99 at mile marker 38.
At this point the operator of the vehicle failed to stop, was swerving back and forth between lanes without using turn signals and was traveling over 120 miles per hour.
The pursuit continued through the City of Altoona, where the operator failed to stop at various red lights and stops signs, then traveled off the roadway, and ultimately crashed into the Salvation Army building located on 6th Avenue and a private residence which was also located on 6th Avenue. This resulted in damage being done to both of these buildings and properties.
The operator of the pursued vehicle was positively identified as Lawrence Willard Morrissey Jr. by using his Pennsylvania driver’s license.
Morrissey related to police that he “did not know” why he did not stop and that he “was stupid.”
After confirming Morrissey’s identity, it was then discovered that Morrissey had a felony warrant out for his arrest for the robbery that had occurred in Altoona. Morrissey was then transported to the Blair County Prison on the felony warrant from the Altoona Police Department at approximately 4 a.m.
Morrissey then had a video arraignment before Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller and was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude police officer, a felony offense and an additional 11 summary traffic violations. These violations included notice of change of name or address, required financial responsibility, obedience to traffic control devices, traffic control signals, driving on roadways laned for traffic, turning movement and required signals, maximum speed limits driving at a speed of 120 miles per hour in a posted 70 miles per hour zone, maximum speed limits driving at a speed of 100 miles per hour in a posted 35 miles per hour zone, careless driving, reckless driving and occupant protection and driving a vehicle with a passenger in the vehicle without wearing a seatbelt.
At the conclusion of the arraignment Morrissey had his bail set at $20,000 straight cash. Being unable top post bail, Morrissey was remanded to the Blair County Prison. A preliminary hearing date and time has been set for Morrissey for Tuesday, January 22, 2019, at the office MDJ Miller in Tyrone.