DA’s office probing state trooper gun discharge incident in Avondale

Avondale >> Two state troopers stationed at the Avondale police barracks discharged their guns at 11:30 p.m. May 23, the Chester County District Attorney’s office announced. No one was struck or injured by the gun discharge.

Based on a preliminary investigation, the following facts have been discovered. At 11:21 p.m., the state police received a call for an erratic driver in the area of Route 1 and Route 796 in Chester County. Two marked state police patrol vehicles responded. Officers observed the driver of a Saturn weaving and operating the vehicle with an expired registration.

The troopers attempted to pull the Saturn over. The driver of the Saturn fled, with the troopers in pursuit. The troopers tried to box the car in, but the Saturn continued to flee. The Saturn eventually turned into a large, open area where mushroom compost is stored on Old Baltimore Pike in Avondale.

The troopers boxed in the Saturn, which was now stopped, and exited their vehicles. Once the troopers were on foot and while there was still contact between the vehicles, the driver attempted to flee by placing the Saturn in reverse. Three Troopers then discharged their service weapons.

The Saturn did not stop, but kept fleeing. The troopers again pursued the Saturn. A third state police vehicle joined the chase. The driver of the Saturn eventually drove behind a building and became stuck in the underbrush. The driver, later identified at Brian Touchton, then surrendered to the troopers. He was not injured.

Touchton is in custody, charged with fleeing and eluding, DUI, and driving with a suspended license. Pending the conclusion of this investigation, additional charges may be filed.

Pursuant to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office Protocol, the Chester County Detectives -- the investigative arm of the District Attorney’s Office -- will be the independent agency who will review this officer-involved shooting. The Chester County Detectives will work with the Pennsylvania State Police on this matter. The Chester County District Attorney will then make a decision regarding whether the shooting was justified.

All of this information is preliminary, pending a full review of all available evidence. At the conclusion of the investigation, the District Attorney’s Office will provide written findings.

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