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Martin, law enforcement officials announce arrest of ATV driver

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin; Capt. Derek Koch, Pennsylvania State Police, Troop M; South Whitehall Township Police Chief Glen Dorney and Allentown Police Chief Charles Roca announced March 16 an arrest was made regarding several investigations involving an all-terrain vehicle driver.

According to Martin, Taurean Durran Farmer, 40, of Pen Argyl, was charged in three criminal cases all related to Farmer’s alleged reckless operation of an ATV.

Two of these incidents happened on the same day last year.

Farmer was arrested recently in New York City, N.Y., on a Lehigh County warrant and was extradited back to Pennsylvania.

He remains in Lehigh County Jail.

Farmer was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude police; a felony of the third degree; recklessly endangering another person; a misdemeanor of the second degree; and related charges of disregarding a traffic lane, reckless driving, driving without a license, operation on streets and highways, unlawful operation and operation in a safe manner regarding a July 7, 2022, incident in Upper Macungie.

On that same day just a few minutes later, in South Whitehall Township, Farmer was involved in an incident and is charged with recklessly endangering another person and obstructing administration of law enforcement or other governmental function, both misdemeanors of the second degree; and related charges of reckless driving, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles - operations on streets and highways, careless driving, driving on roadways laned for traffic and drivers required to be licensed.

Farmer was also charged by Allentown Police for offenses that occurred just a few days later on July 19, 2022.

Those offenses include fleeing or attempting to elude police and recklessly endangering another person; both misdemeanors of the second degree and related charges of registration and certificate of title required, required financial responsibility, careless driving, reckless driving, driving vehicle at safe speed, drivers required to be licensed and turning movements and required signals.

According to Martin, the first incident began at 8:30 p.m. July 7, 2022, along Tilghman Street and Blue Barn Road in Upper Macungie.

A state trooper was operating a marked patrol cruiser when he saw approximately 40 non-roadway compliant vehicles merging onto I-78 West from Route 22 West.

The vehicles, which included ATVs and motorcycles, allegedly lacked registration plates and multiple traffic violations were observed which included drifting through lanes without signaling and drivers performing “wheelies.”

The large group traveled off the interstate and began traveling north on Route 100.

The group was followed with the trooper’s lights and sirens activated as several other state troopers also responded to the scene.

Several of the motorcycle and ATV drivers at the rear of the group began blocking state police vehicles, preventing police from moving to the front of the group.

One of those ATV drivers actively blocking state police cruisers was later identified as Farmer, who was driving a bright yellow Yamaha four-wheeler.

During that incident, Farmer was observed performing “wheelies” with a passenger on the back and traveling at unsafe speeds.

At one point, Farmer’s ATV swerved out of its lane of travel and into the opposite lane and allegedly tried to prevent a marked state police cruiser with its lights and sirens activated from passing.

Martin stated also on July 7, 2022, Allentown police and agents of the Office of Attorney General were involved in a Homeland Security Investigation operation in Upper Macungie Township.

During this investigation, Allentown Police Detective Damien Lobach suffered a serious arm injury with significant bleeding that required a tourniquet.

Other officers involved in the investigation placed Lobach in a vehicle belonging to the Office of the Attorney General that was outfitted with flashing red/blue lights in the front windshield and grille, flashing headlamps and an audible siren.

All emergency lights and the audible siren were activated in the vehicle as Lobach was being transported and en route to Lehigh Valley Health Network, Salisbury, for treatment.

Martin stated upon entering the 4100 block of Tilghman Street heading east, a large group of motorcycles and ATVs appeared in front of the AG vehicle transporting Lobach. This incident occurred 8:35 p.m., just five minutes after the incident in Upper Macungie Township.

The group of vehicles allegedly did not yield to the lights and siren of the AG’s vehicle and one of the law enforcement officials inside began recording the group.

According to Martin, the video shows a driver and passenger on a yellow ATV and the vehicle actively moved to block the law enforcement vehicle from passing - moving left and right, outside the lane of travel and braking to slow the law enforcement vehicle’s passage.

The evasive action continued for two blocks until the law enforcement driver was able to turn into a parking lot to avoid the ATV.

The investigation ultimately determined the driver of the ATV was Farmer, Martin said.

Martin said several days later on July 19, 2022, Farmer was involved in another incident involving an ATV.

This occurred just before 10 p.m. in the 600 block of West Chew Street, Allentown.

According to Martin, an officer observed Farmer’s yellow ATV driving recklessly and noted the vehicle did not have a registration plate.

The officer immediately recognized the driver as Farmer.

Farmer turned northbound into the 300 block of N. 6th Street at a high rate of speed and without a turn signal. The officer activated his patrol vehicle’s lights and sirens, but was unable to maintain visual contact with Farmer, who allegedly failed to stop for police, Martin stated.

The officer eventually lost sight of Farmer’s vehicle which was last spotted in the 600 block of Tilghman Street.

The officer noted that on an Instagram page, confirmed to belong to Farmer, the same bright yellow ATV is shown as well as a helmet Farmer was wearing during the incident.

These gangs of ATV and motorbike operators have been a scourge on communities across Lehigh County, Martin said.

According to Martin, if Farmer is convicted of these charges, he could face a maximum statutory sentence of up to 17 years in prison.

However, under sentencing guidelines, the ultimate sentence recommendation will likely be less.

“However, upon conviction, we will press for a lengthy sentence. And, as a message and warning to others behaving as we allege Farmer has - if we can identify you, we will charge you, seize your bike and seek a prison sentence,” Martin stated.

FILE PHOTO A group of ATV's drivers and riders were photographed by Pennsylvania State Police, Troop M, on July 7, 2022, allegedly driving recklessly along Tilghman Street, Upper Macungie Township.