A four-time convicted drunken driver is accused of leading state police on a late-night, high-speed pursuit Friday that ended in a field in northern Butler County, where he lost control of his car.
Police say Rocco V. Colonello, 32, of Middlesex Township told them he fled just before midnight Friday because he didn't want to go back to prison.
Colonello is being held in the Butler County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail on a list of charges, including two felonies. He also is wanted on a pair of bench warrants in Allegheny County.
Trooper Shaun Milkovich was on patrol on Muddy Creek Drive about 11:45 p.m., police said, when he saw a BMW sedan turn onto West Liberty Road without signaling.
The trooper activated his emergency lights and siren, but the driver speed up in excess of 85 mph in a 35 mph zone, police said.
During the pursuit, the driver, later identified as Colonello, moved from the right to left side of the road, nearly losing control of the car several times, according to court documents. He allegedly ran a stop sign at West Liberty Road and Route 528.
“The vehicle continued at a high rate of speed until spinning out in the area of Covert Road,” Milkovich said in his affidavit, “where it left the left side of the roadway and came to rest in a field.”
Police said Colonello tried to open the driver's door but troopers stopped him.
“The defendant stated he ran because he did not want to go back to jail,” the affidavit said.
He showed signs of impairment before stopping police field sobriety tests, according to court documents. He also refused to submit to a blood test.
Police noted Colonello has four prior convictions for driving under the influence, dating to 2010.
District Judge Bill O'Donnell arraigned Colonello on felony charges of fleeing or attempting to elude police and DUI, and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license-DUI related.
Additionally, he is charged with 12 traffic violations. A preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday.