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Deer spotlighting incident leads to high-speed chase

By Staff | Feb 18, 2015

HUGHESVILLE – An outing to spotlight dear illegally in Penn Township turned into a much more serious matter for 28-year-old motorist Eric Steven Barto, who sped away at a high rate of speed from two state Game Commission wildlife conservation officers.

Barto, of 879 Stoney Batter Road, Moreland Township, fled in his pickup truck when the officers caught him spotlighting on private property along Dr. Poust Road in Penn Township about 2 a.m. Nov. 9, according to an affidavit filed by Jonathan M. Wyant, a conservation officer.

Wyant and a second officer with him pursued Barto at speeds that exceeded 75 mph, court records said.

Riding with Barto was a male juvenile, Wyant said. Barto ran at least two stop signs, he said.

The officers stopped the pursuit soon after they were able to get the truck’s registration. The vehicle was registered to Barto, they said.

Within the hour, the conservation officers met up with Barto when he returned to his home with his truck.

“There appeared to be blood and hair from a whitetail deer in the bed of the truck,” Wyant said.

Barto admitted that while spotlighting deer with the juvenile, he shot and killed a six-point buck while the boy held the spotlight, Wyant said.

After butchering the deer, they went back out to get rid of its remains, Wyant said.

Barto admitted he was spotlighting on Dr. Poust Road when he fled.

Charged with fleeing an officer, recklessly endangering, endangering the welfare of a child, corrupting the morals of a minor and numerous summary game violations, Barto was arraigned last week before District Judge Jon E. Kemp.

He later was released on $40,000 bail.