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Routine Traffic Stop Results In Pennsylvania’s Man’s Arrest When Police Ran Information for Both Driver and Passenger

The search for a fugitive ended Tuesday after a man wanted for attempted homicide was arrested in what was expected to be a routine traffic stop for a Lyft driver in Pennsylvania.

Pastor Jason Sinagra, who drives for the ride-share service, said he didn’t think twice when he picked up 39-year-old Montclair Gibbs in the early hours of June 4. He told CBS Pittsburgh the two were discussing church as they rode down McGovern Road in Crescent Township when he noticed a police car tailing them.

Montclair Gibbs

Police say Montclair Gibbs, 39, was wanted for attempted homicide and also had bench warrants in Allegheny County, Pa. (CBS Pittsburgh / video screenshot)

Fearing he was in trouble, Singara said he pulled to the side of the road. What happened next is something he never expected. 

It turned out Gibbs was a wanted man.

“We ran the information for the driver,” said Patrolman Joe Burek, who stopped the pair Tuesday. “We ran the passenger information and that’s when we got the hit.”

“When we see that on the screen, we go into the mode, where ‘Hey, this is serious,’” he added.

According to the officer, Gibbs not only had bench warrants in Allegheny County but was wanted for attempted homicide and aggravated assault in connection with an October 2016 incident in the neighboring town of New Castle.

The reason for the initial stop remains unclear, as is why the officer ran an ID check on Sinagra’s passenger, who, at that point, was not suspected of a crime.

According to a video titled “Know Your Rights” by the ACLU of Southern California, only the driver is required to show their license and registration to an officer if he/she is pulled over — not the passengers. The organization also pointed out that police can’t extend a traffic stop for further questioning unless there is reasonable suspicion a crime has been committed. 

Burek said the driver was safely removed from the car before Gibbs, 39, was taken into custody without incident. Sinagra said he never would’ve known the “unsuspecting passenger” was a criminal had the officer not stopped him. Now, he’s breathing a sigh of relief.

“I was just happy to be helpful, to help police to their job,” Sinagra told the station.

Watch more in the video below.

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