West Carthage man faces multiple charges after stealing police car and leading deputies on high-speed chase

·3 min read

Aug. 1—WATERTOWN — Police say a West Carthage man stole a Jefferson County Sheriff's Office vehicle and led deputies on a pursuit through the city of Watertown and the southern part of the county Monday morning.

According to a news release from Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen M. O'Neill, Donald C. Hutt, 45, with a last-known address of the Pleasant Night Inn in West Carthage, is facing numerous criminal charges after the early Monday morning chase, including robbery, grand larceny, burglary and resisting arrest.

According to the sheriff, deputies first engaged with Mr. Hutt at about 5:40 a.m. as they responded to a report of a robbery in progress at the Factory Street 7-Eleven convenience store. Deputies say Mr. Hutt engaged in a physical struggle with the store clerk, then fled into the store parking lot and attempted to steal an occupied vehicle.

That attempt failed, and Sheriff O'Neill said Mr. Hutt then ran across the street to Mo's Place, where he demanded car keys from patrons in the diner, again without success.

The sheriff said Mr. Hutt then broke a window and entered the nearby Precision Towing and Auto Worx shop, which was closed at the time.

Sheriff's deputies said they chased Mr. Hutt on foot to Public Square, where he again attempted to steal an occupied vehicle. Mr. Hutt successfully entered the vehicle but was stopped by a sheriff's sergeant.

Sheriff O'Neill said Mr. Hutt was taken into custody, handcuffed and put into the secure backseat of a sheriff's office vehicle. As deputies interviewed the victim of the attempted carjacking, they said Mr. Hutt climbed through the handcuffs to have his hands in front of him, and then climbed into the front seat of the sheriff's vehicle, an SUV.

Mr. Hutt then drove the SUV away from the scene of his arrest, followed by sheriff's deputies.

Mr. Hutt traveled down Arsenal Street, onto Interstate 81, and proceeded southbound at a high rate of speed to the Adams exit.

There, Sheriff O'Neill said Mr. Hutt crossed the median into Route 11's northbound lane.

As all sheriff's vehicles have automatic vehicle locators, pursuit was not initiated and police followed at a distance, "keeping the safety of the public and officers in mind," she said. The stolen vehicle's portable radio unit was disabled to prevent Mr. Hutt from overhearing police radio traffic.

Mr. Hutt drove back into the city of Watertown, where he was stopped near the intersection of Gotham Street and Thompson Boulevard with a Stinger tire deflation device. The vehicle careened into a nearby residence's front yard, and a small engine fire in the vehicle was put out with fire extinguishers.

Thompson Boulevard between Gotham and Green streets was closed while police investigated and re-created the crash that ended the chase.

Sheriff O'Neill said there were no reported injuries. The sheriff's office was assisted by Watertown city police, Adams village police, state police and the Watertown Department of Public Works.