A state police trooper and a fleeing father who had abducted his 9-year-old son were killed in a roadside gun battle in the Poconos after a 40-mile high-speed chase involving up to nine police cars.
State police this afternoon described a dramatic confrontation that began after the father, Daniel M. Autenrieth, was forced off Route 611 in Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County, and into a guardrail.
Troopers Joshua Miller, 34, and Robert Lombardo, 35, approached the vehicle, smashing the windows, an effort to rescue the son. It was unclear how the boy was removed from the vehicle, but he was unhurt.
Miller was shot in the chest and killed in the gun fight, which occurred around 8 p.m. Sunday, and Lombardo wounded. Autenrieth was shot eight times, state police said. Lombardo has been released from the hospital.
The chase began outside Easton after Autenrieth arrived at the home of his estranged wife, Susan, to pick up one or more of the couple's three children in a pre-arranged visit.
Last month a Northampton County judge awarded custody of the children - the boy and girls, aged 4 and 3 - to Susan Autenrieth and ordered the father to have no contact with her.
She had sought the protection-from-abuse order, saying that Daniel Autenrieth, who was 6-foot-2 and weighed about 230 pounds, had attacked her. He, in turn, argued that she had beaten the boy.
When he arrived at the house Sunday night, the couple got into a dispute, he threatened her with a gun and ended up leaving with the boy, state police said.
During the chase, police attempted to place devices on the road to pop Autenrieth's tires, but he evaded them. Finally, Miller was able to tap the vehicle, knocking the car into a guardrail, setting up the gun battle.