The criminal complaint says police spotted a 2006 Lincoln Navigator going the wrong way on Fort Pitt Boulevard early Sunday morning, when the driver then crossed the Smithfield Street bridge and ran a red light as he turned onto East Carson Street. Police say the driver then crossed into opposing traffic, driving on the wrong side of the street for seven blocks, to pass several cars at a time on East Carson Street.
Officers issued an alert for the SUV. One officer dressed in full uniform yelled, “Police! Stop the vehicle.” That officer then said the driver, later identified as Ta’amu, swerved toward him and nearly ran him over. Two other officers also spotted the car. They drew both of their guns as the Navigator came at them, but neither of them fired “due to the large number of pedestrians and motorists on the sidewalks and roadway.”
Police say Ta’amu took a sharp turn off of East Carson Street and onto South 14th
Street. There, he allegedly hit four cars as police chased him. One woman in one of those cars was hurt. As of Sunday morning, she was listed in good condition at UPMC Mercy.
The chase took another turn when police say Ta'amu hit a fifth car, totaling both vehicles. Police rantoward him, and officers say Ta'amu than sprinted away from the car. He took off his blue shirt to avoid being recognized. When police caught up to him, they told him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back. One officer was concerned that Ta’amu was reaching for his waistband, so he punched him in the face. Police got Ta’amu, who refused medical treatment, into handcuffs and took him to jail.
Arresting officers say Ta’amu’s breath smelled like alcohol, his speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot. Police say Ta'amu agreed to take a blood alcohol test, and he registered a blood alcohol content of .196 percent. That's more than twice the legal limit.