Drug suspect tries to flee after buy-bust, rams police vehicles, strikes trooper, authorities say

A 23-year-old Hellertown woman, fleeing a buy-bust Monday afternoon during a narcotics sales investigation in Palmer Township, rammed Pennsylvania State Police vehicles and struck a trooper before the woman’s SUV was flipped during a police maneuver, injuring her and a confidential informant in the vehicle, court papers say.

Taylor Marie McIntyre, of the first block of Main Street, was arraigned Tuesday morning from an area hospital on charges including aggravated assault and possession with intent to deliver drugs, court papers say. District Judge Robert Weber set bail at $250,000, records show.

A state police confidential informant was to buy 100 Ecstasy pills in a planned effort just after 1 p.m. from McIntyre in the parking lot of a restaurant in the first block of Kunkle Drive, court papers say. The informant pulled up next to a red 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer, which was parked back end first in the stall, and got into the passenger seat while McIntyre was in the driver’s seat, police said.

With the informant in the SUV, a trooper in plain clothes with a badge around his neck walked up to the SUV and repeatedly yelled “state police” and “show me your hands”, court papers say. The trooper had “prior interaction” with McIntyre and she knew he worked for the state police, court papers say.

An unmarked state police vehicle pulled in front of the Trailblazer to block it during the arrest, but McIntyre drove forward, pushing the unmarked vehicle out of the way, court papers say.

McIntyre, whose license was already suspended, drove directly at another trooper, who had been running toward the SUV and identifying himself a trooper, police said. He stuck out his left arm and foot to avoid the vehicle, but was struck and pushed off to the side, court papers say.

McIntyre next struck an unmarked state police vehicle, which was driving next to her in the parking lot, and the police vehicle then pulled in behind her as she left the lot, court papers say.

McIntyre drove on Kunkle toward Corporate Drive, with the trooper still behind her and other marked vehicles with lights and sirens moving in, court papers say.

The trooper to her rear “conducted a pursuit intervention technique (PIT)”, court papers say. The bump from the trailing vehicle usually causes the pursued vehicle to spin.

In this case, the Trailblazer rolled, eventually returning to its wheels and stopping, court papers say. As it was coming to a halt, the SUV was hit on the driver’s side by a patrol vehicle, court papers say.

The informant suffered minor injuries, police said. Court papers did not detail McIntyre’s injuries.

Troopers recovered 63 suspected Ecstasy pills, 60 broken pills containing suspected Ecstasy and a purple container with nine suspected Ecstasy pills, court papers say.

McIntyre was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple assault, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, accidents involving death or injury while not licensed and driving while license is suspended or revoked, court papers say.

She will be housed in Northampton County Prison pending bail and a preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled 9 a.m. Aug. 16 before Distric tJudge Jacqueline Taschner, court papers say.

It wasn’t immediately clear if McIntyre is being represented by an attorney.

Typically, controlled drug buys involve the informant being searched ahead of time to make sure they have no drugs on them -- which happened in this case, police say -- then being given money to make the buy as police watch from a distance. After the buy is made, the informant typically returns to police, gives up the drugs and is searched again to make sure they don’t still have the buy money or other drugs.

But in undercover operations, sometimes circumstances change.

When asked why the trooper tried to make the arrest with the informant still in the SUV, potentially putting that person at risk, Troop M public information officer Nathan Branosky said troopers are trained assess the situation and to use the safest and most effective procedures to make an arrest.

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Tony Rhodin can be reached at arhodin@lehighvalleylive.com.