A 42-year-old Richland woman is dead after twice trespassing on a North Lebanon Township property, then leading police on a chase through the county that ended in her death as she attempted to ram a police car with an unidentified North Lebanon Township officer inside.

State Police at Jonestown said Charity Thome of Richland was caught trespassing at a Heilmandale Road residence at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Police responding to the scene spotted her in a Honda, but she eluded them.

According to a P.S.P. news release and a press conference held late Monday morning, Thome returned to the same residence at 1:55 a.m. on Monday and attempted once more to break in. She was again spotted in her vehicle by North Lebanon Township Police, who gave chase.

Thome was pursued into Jackson Township, where State Troopers joined the chase. Her car was disabled by the police near 511 King Street, where she was cornered by several police vehicles.

According to the State Police, Thome began to ram the North Lebanon Township patrol car, with the officer inside, and refused repeated orders to stop by Troopers who had gotten out of their vehicles.

“Thome refused to comply with commands and continued to accelerate into the North Lebanon Township Police car thus risking the safety of the North Lebanon Township Officer and Troopers,” according to State Police.

“The Troopers then discharged their weapon to stop her actions. Troopers immediately attended to [Thome] and administered first aid to her injuries until EMS arrived on the scene,” according to the release.

Thome was pronounced dead at the scene.

As of late this morning, State Police were unable to give a motive for Thome’s actions, or to say whether drugs or alcohol may have been involved. They said that an autopsy will be conducted and that their investigation is incomplete.

No police officers were injured.

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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