Driver of car that crashed while fleeing East Pikeland police arraigned

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EAST PIKELAND — Four men told police varying stories after they allegedly stole items from at least one vehicle in the township earlier this year and crashed their car when fleeing from an officer.

The alleged driver of the vehicle, Darrell Anthony Bookard, 20, of Pottstown, was arraigned earlier this month on charges of theft by unlawful taking, fleeing and/or eluding police, reckless endangerment, unauthorized use of a vehicle and other charges.

Malik Brinkley, 20; Miles Elliot, 20; and Donald L. Johnson, 18; all from Pottstown, were allegedly in the car as well. They were arrested and arraigned on Jan. 23, the day of the incident. Their charges include theft from vehicles and resisting arrest, along with other related offenses, according to court records.

The incident unfolded when a man allegedly saw someone in his car, called 911 and the East Pikeland Police were dispatched to the Kimberton Meadows development in the area of Verdent Drive and Clover Lane around 1:36 p.m. Jan. 23.

The caller saw the person who was in his car meet with others and walk away down Clover Lane, according to an affidavit of probable cause tied to Bookard’s case.

An East Pikeland officer noticed a 1998 Honda traveling in the opposite direction on Clover Lane, the only vehicle on the road, as he responded to the call. The officer activated his lights and pulled the car over, the affidavit said.

After the officer left his vehicle, the stopped Honda’s driver allegedly “gunned the engine and sped down the hill.

“Toward the bottom of the hill, the driver lost control and crashed,” according to the affidavit. “Five occupants exited the vehicle and fled on foot.”

Eventually, Bookard, Brinkley, Elliot and Johnson were apprehended.

A fifth suspect’s tracks were visible in the snow on the ground. The tracks led to a pipe crossing Route 724 into the Water World amusement park property, police said. A search in the morning found the tracks continued through the Water World property to a shed at the rear of the former Harpoon Louie’s restaurant. It appeared that the shed had been broken into, according to police.

A suspect attached to those tracks was not named in the affidavit.

Police questioned the four men who were in custody but each reportedly told a different story, one involving the car being full of girls, another implying that the car was headed to a party to meet girls. Elliot allegedly admitted to going through cars but “stated he did not find anything.”

Johnson allegedly said he was not involved in going through cars but he was there to meet girls at a house and bring marijuana.

Near the tracks in the snow, investigating officers recovered a backpack that contained items including change, a digital camera and a GPS.

The woman who owned the Honda the five men were using reportedly told police she allowed Bookard to borrow the car “to go on this mission with these girls for a (little) while,” according to a text message he sent her.

She said “she did not give permission to take the vehicle for a long period of time and did not give him permission to take the car out to use in criminal activity,” according to the affidavit.

Police received permission from the car’s owner to search it and reportedly recovered a laptop, Michael Kors watch and another GPS, along with shoulder radios.

The laptop along with the camera and one of the bags of change were returned to a male victim from Verdant Drive, police said.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Bookard in May. Bail was set at an unsecured $10,000, a docket for his case showed.

Hearings for the other three men are scheduled for next week. Their bail was set at 10 percent of $3,500, which they all posted.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.