New Kensington officer nearly hit after vehicle pursuit in Upper Burrell


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New Kensington, Pa. – While on routine patrol in the Hazer Drive area near 7th Street, a New Kensington police officer was forced to initiate a vehicle pursuit that subsequently hit speeds in excess of 80 miles-an-hour in Upper Burrell near Dandyview Drive.

New Kensington police say a black Audi Coupe was observed traveling at a very high rate of speed traveling towards Warren Drive. The vehicle passed in front of the officer and appeared to collide with a parked vehicle, later identified as a burgundy Ford Fusion.

Police say the actor turned hard left in an attempt to avoid impact and then nearly struck the hillside on the opposite side of the roadway. The vehicle again began to accelerate at a high rate of speed. Police attempted to catch up to the vehicle at this time.

The operator, later identified as Robert Vining Jr. age 21 of New Kensington, continued on 7th Street driving very erratic. The vehicle then made a right onto 7th Street and continued on this road towards Upper Burrell as police activated their emergency lights and sirens while passing the Tel-Star bar on 7th Street calling out a vehicle pursuit. The suspect vehicle attempted to negotiate a long right curve, but was traveling to fast crossing over the centerline, then fishtailing near Dandywiew Drive in Upper Burrell. The vehicle then came to a complete stop with 2 officers at the scene.

Police attempted to block Vining’s vehicle with their patrol car while calling registration plate information into 911. Police then exited their vehicle with firearm’s drawn directing commands at the driver. 3 females exited the vehicle as the officer ordered Vining to shut the motor off and exit the vehicle.

Vining then hit the accelerator, nearly striking the officer who had jumped to his left to avoid being hit. A second police officer gave chase and placed Vining in custody near Woodpecker’s Bar.


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Located on the person of Vining was one bag of suspected crack cocaine and one bag of marijuana. Another bag of suspected powder cocaine was found on the drivers seat of the vehicle. Police say the three females were transported a short distance up the road to Woodpecker’s Bar. All three females were identified and later released.

Vining was in the rear of the patrol car and did apologize for nearly striking the officer by saying, “I’m sorry, I’m drunk and high.”

Police did detect a strong aroma of marijuana and alcoholic beverages emitting from Vining’s person while he was in the rear seat of the patrol car. Vining was transported to Allegheny Valley Hospital for a blood draw which he refused. New Kensington police requested a drug evaluation expert from the Pennsylvania State Police Kittanning barracks. A trooper arrived and performed an evaluation of Vining and it was concluded that Vining was under the influence and impaired. During the evaluation, Vining again admitted to using alcoholic beverages, consuming marijuana and cocaine prior to driving.

After the evaluation, Vinging did state that he wanted to take a blood test. His request was accommodated by New Kensington police.

Vining faces the following charges: F2 Aggravated Assault, F3 Aggravated assault by vehicle, F3 Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Officer, F Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to
Manufacture or Deliver, M2 Resist Arrest/Other Law Enforce, M2 Recklessly Endangering Another Person, D1* DUI: Controlled Substance or Metabolite 1st Offense, B* M DUI: High Rte of Alc (Bac.10 – <.16) 1st Off, D3* M DUI: Controlled Substance - Combination Alcohol/Drugs - 1st Offense, M Int Poss Controlled Substance By Per Not Reg, M Poss Of Marijuana, S Driv While Oper Priv Susp Or Revoked, S Reckless Driving, S Driving at Safe Speed and S Accident Damage To Unattended Veh Or Property. A Preliminary Hearing is scheduled on 01/17/2019 @ 2:00 pm before the Honorable Magisterial District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr. Vining is in the Westmoreland County Prison after failing to post a $75,000 bond.