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Man, Prosecutors Reach Deal in Upper Nazareth Car Chase

A Lehigh Township man accused of leading Upper Nazareth Township police on an early-morning car chase in March had a blood-alcohol content of .20 percent when the events unfolded.

A deal was reached in the case against a Lehigh Township man who -- while driving with a blood-alcohol content of .20 percent -- allegedly led Upper Nazareth Township police on a car chase that ended in swampy woods.

The legal limit for motorists in Pennsylvania is .08 percent.

Richard W. Yeakel, 33, of the 500 block of Walnut Drive, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Monday afternoon in front of .

Yeakel and his attorney, Gary Asteak, waived the following charges to Northampton County Court: one count of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, one count of recklessly endangering another person, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol - highest rate of alcohol (BAC .16+), and driving above the speed limit.

According to Asteak, in exchange for his client pleading guilty to the one count of recklessly endangering another person, prosecutors agreed to drop a second count of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, a second count of recklessly endangering another person, and two counts of resisting arrest.

As for the DUI, Yeakel is eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for first-time offenders, Asteak said.

According to the arrest affidavit, the early-morning hours of March 11 unfolded like this:

  • At about 12:30 a.m., an police officer on traffic duty spotted Yeakel’s blue Volkswagen moving west at 66 mph along East Lawn Road.
  • After pursuit with police lights and sirens, Yeakel stopped his car in the parking lot of . During the stop, the officer noted an odor of alcohol and that Yeakel’s speech was slurred and his eyes were glassy.
  • Yeakel did not have his driver’s license with him, but he gave the officer his name, which he spelled wrong.
  • During the stop, after a second officer arrived on the scene -- and before a field sobriety test could be issued -- Yeakel drove off. The officers pursued Yeakel as he headed onto Levis Road and into .
  • Yeakel lost control of the car at Levis and Knauss roads, driving it into the woods. He got out of the car and started running through the woods toward Bath. The officers ordered Yeakel to stop, but he kept running.
  • Eventually, they caught him and took him into custody. Bushkill Township Ambulance came to the scene and brought Yeakel to , where blood was drawn.

Yeakel was released from Northampton County Prison after posting 10 percent of $25,000 bail.

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