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Man Attacks Woman With Hammer In Leetsdale Parking Lot Before Leading Police On Damaging Chase

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A parking lot in Leetsdale is where a woman says she was approached by a man who intended to rob her and more -- for $10 and a cigarette.

Police say the man, John Matheny, assaulted her with a hammer, then jumped into her car and took off. Matheny, 38, is now behind bars at the Allegheny County Jail facing a long list of charges— 24 counts to be exact.

Police say the alleged incident all started in the Giant Eagle parking lot near Wendy's in Leetsdale around 10 p.m. Monday. The victim was getting ready to drive away when Matheny approached her window, demanding $10 dollars and a cigarette.

John Matheny
Photo Credit: KDKA

Police said Matheny began hitting the woman in the head with a hammer and tried to get into the SUV.

The victim tried to fight Matheny off, but he managed to push her into the passenger seat. At this point, an officer with Leet Township Police responded, tried to get Matheny out of the SUV, but Matheny took off, knocking the officer onto the ground.

The woman jumped out of her SUV near Heritage Valley Heart Center as Matheny sped away.

Matheny took off down Beaver Street. Police said he sped through three yards, smashing down bushes, leaving tire tracks in the grass and striking a silver Ford pickup truck, damaging the front bumper. The owner of the truck didn't want to go on camera. While KDKA was there, a tow truck pulled up and took the car away.

leetsdale chase
Photo Credit: KDKA

The chase continued down Beaver Street and onto Merchant Street in Ambridge. Police said Matheny blew through several stop signs and red lights, struck another car and motorcycle in the process before turning onto 8th and running the SUV into the wooden backstop in the parking lot of the Anglican Church in North America.

Matheny got out of the car and hid behind some bushes before he was arrested. Police found a crack pipe in his front pocket. He told police he had been smoking crack all night.

The victim had a couple of cuts on her head and bruising, but police said she will be okay. The officer who was knocked to the ground had some back pain, but is home and will be okay as well.

Police say they've never dealt with Matheny before. He's not from the area.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 5.

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