Couple faces felony flight charges

BY STACI WILSON

FREDERICK SWINGLE III

A Montrose area couple faces charges after they attempted to dodge warrants for their arrests in February.

Sheriff Deputies attempted to serve warrants Feb. 16 on Frederick R. Swingle III, 26, and Amberly Payne, 23, at a home on Hamlin Rd., Forest Lake Twp.

Swingle and Payne now both face felony charges of flight to avoid apprehension or prosecution and conspiracy charges.

The homeowner, Donna Potts, told deputies that Swingle and Payne were not at the home at that time but later called the sheriff’s department and said she had discovered that they were still in the residence.

Potts said the couple had left the home, without taking their

AMBERLY PAYNE

children, and were headed toward Montrose in a dark grey, Dodge Durango with a temporary registration sticker on it.

Sheriff department deputies, Montrose police and state police were notified and told the couple was aware of the existing warrants.

Deputies located the vehicle heading east on Grow Ave., Montrose. Swingle was driving at the time, according to court papers.

The officers followed the couple; Swingle made a quick turn onto a dirt road then accelerated at a high rate of speed. The deputies then lost visual contact of the Durango and were unable to keep up with the vehicle due to icy road conditions and lost the trail on Post Pond road.

According to the affidavit, Detective Debra Strong received a call from Payne’s mother, Ann Belotti. Belotti told the detective Payne had called her and told her that she and Swingle were running from probation warrants and leaving the state.

In a later call to her mother, Payne told Belotti the couple was not going back to jail, according to the affidavit.

Deputies contacted the auto dealer who had sold the Durango to Swingle.

The dealer gave sheriff deputies the license number that had been issued for the vehicle and also told the authorities the vehicle was equipped with GPS tracking.

The car dealer contacted the sheriff’s department on Feb. 17 and said the GPS showed the vehicle’s location at an Endicott, N.Y. address.

Authorities in New York were notified and tracking dogs were utilized to locate Swingle and Payne who were found in a nearby apartment.

Swingle waived his March 28 preliminary hearing on the flight and conspiracy charges in Montrose District Court.

He was sentenced in the Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas to six to 23 1/2 months on Feb. 21 for violating his parole stemming from a July 2008 incident.

Payne is being held in the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility on a parole violation. A preliminary hearing on the flight and conspiracy charges has been scheduled for April 18 in front of District Judge Jeffrey Hollister.